Fifteen Minutes of Privacy

Best Practices : Article

association_privacyAndy Warhol famously said that in the future everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame. 

Nowadays, it seems like in the future everyone can aspire to fifteen minutes of privacy. 

And whether it’s illicit photos of Kate Upton showing up online or my kids living their lives out loud on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we no doubt have less privacy now than ever before. 

As a result of this (in part self-inflicted) erosion of privacy, people are more sensitive to privacy and security than ever before. 

So what does this mean for associations and consortia? A few things. 

First, give your website privacy policy a read.  If it’s not right there in the footer of your web site, there’s the first challenge.  But these policies can quickly become out of date (clue on this:  does your policy reference MySpace or Friendster?) 

Second, treat member contact data like the valuable commodity that it is. No doubt, temptations abound—sponsors of programs who offer solid funding in exchange for a member mailing list. But as soon as you lose control of this, you lose a more valuable commodity, the trust of your members. 

Finally, take IT and web site security seriously. Are you running regular security scans of your web site?  Do you educate your staff and Board on phishing scams? Do you have sound password policies? Getting hacked isn’t something that “only happens to other people” and can cause severe financial and reputational damage when it does. Take the threat seriously, which means it’s not just an IT task, it’s a strategic priority for our staff and Board.


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