First Ever Keystone Speaker Series – a Review

Congratulations to the Keystone Solutions team on a great first edition of the Keystone Speaker Series. The event was held yesterday (September 26th) in Austin and was a success on all levels.

Like everything else that the Keystone team seems to do, the day-long conference had a great aura of competence, intelligence and fun.

The topic of the day was Online Privacy. Most agreed with Evan Lapointe when he started his morning keynote by saying that it is “a bitch of a topic”.

The speakers, panels and group breakouts attacked all of the components of this multi-headed monster.

I was able to form some newly educated opinions, such as:
1. Privacy is a separate issue from security.
2. Elected officials and media cannot be expected to treat this complex issue properly. It is too tempting for both to simplify online privacy into boogey man fear tactics that will generate support and interest.
3. The sub-issues of data collection, data distribution and disclosure are separate but equally complex.
4. No two people seem to share a definition of what consumer privacy “rights” should be.
5. Consumers are hopelessly ignorant on the details. Worse, the details require such lengthy explanation it seems unlikely that they will bother to educate themselves.
6. The next generation of digital users are less concerned with privacy. They are more comfortable than old guys like me with releasing their personal profiles and preferences into the digital ecosystem. They seem to understand intuitively that they are getting a more relevant digital world in exchange.

Matt Wright was the host for the day and he trotted out a steady stream of experts, including John Lovett, Michele Hinojosa, Lee Isensee, John Pestana and the aforementioned Evan Lapointe.

Emer Kirrane of Yahoo! Web Analytics delivered the afternoon keynote and, as I said in my tweet, she absolutely killed it. She explored the issue from the corporate side first – showing a series of privacy statements that were obviously inaccurate and/or untruthful… and then went through 5 or 6 interviews with friends, showing how diverse and ignorant consumers are about their online privacy. It was a microcosm of the overall conference: fun, interesting, illuminating and generally very well done.

High fives to Jason Thompson and the rest of the Keystone team for putting on a great event. I am sure that I can speak for most in attendance when I say, “thank you”. I am very much looking forward to the next Keystone Speaker Series.


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