Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Internet Search Information and Customer Privacy Concern

UPDATE 3/31: Comcast responded and it doesn't suck. Sounds like they aren't going to share out customer info and allow for opt-in participation with advertising. My view: cautiously impressed. Read on. http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/our-commitment-to-consumer-privacy


This is an email I wrote today to the Comcast Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications: Government & Regulatory Communications & the larger Corporate Communications Team...

Dear Ms. Fitzmaurice & the Comcast Comm Team:
Today, as you know, our Congress passed a bill that allows ISP's to access and commoditize the search habits of their customers. 

Having been a Comcast customer for 20 years, I wanted to reach out to you personally and let you know that even though you CAN do something, I'd like to ask you not to. In a world where the government is recklessly pulling protection away from every single aspect of our lives, wouldn't it be great if large influential companies like Comcast did right by their customers just because it's the proper thing to do? 

I know the main argument for this legislation is opening up 'competition' for you and getting a 'piece of the action.' Destination sites like Google, Yahoo & Facebook get to collect and track users all day long and monetize it. But Comcast has merely been the 'dumb pipes' that people use to access these sites where endless personal data collection and monetization happen. The problem though is that users actually choose those destinations and willingly submit their personal information. But as an ISP, we look to you to create safe avenues to and from our Internet wanderings, not sell our comings and goings to others. 

So what if Comcast decided not to sell out customer information and took a strong stand on being THE conscientious ISP that takes privacy seriously? Or maybe allowing people to OPT-IN/OPT-OUT of such data collection/monetization--many would see that as a sensible compromise. I'm sure many customers who don't care would be happy to let you have their info. But as customers who do care, having no choice in the matter doesn't make us feel valued or safe. In fact, it makes us want to look for other options.

I ask you to consider what you could do that would set you apart and make Comcast an ISP people would clamor to support. If not just for your service but for your principles.

Kali Sakai & Ken Moore
Seattle, WA


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Announcing WSU's Murrow College 'Ethics in Communication' Project

'The Press' isn’t just some obscure, independent entity. It’s us--you and me--the American people. The press is our proxy: our ears, eyes and mouths—asking questions and making sense of what our government is doing. 

Dear fellow WSU Murrow alums & fans of the Free Press,
Do you think...
  • defending ethics in journalism is vital?
  • encouraging the next generation of journalists to be fair, tenacious and thorough is important?
  • learning lessons from experienced leaders in the news & information industry is valuable?

Please check out this new project called Ethics in Communications from WSU's Murrow College of Communication and join me in supporting it!

Click HERE for the detailed 7-page slide deck about this project. 

What's the Project?
The main goal is to help educate WSU students and the public on ethics and responsibility of the Press. With the namesake of one of the most accomplished broadcast journalists in the industry, this presents a unique and important responsibility for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. This will be accomplished by:
  • Creating a series of videos and digital content in a PSA style format featuring top faculty and industry leaders. 
  • Hosting a series of lectures with VIP Murrow Award winners, faculty and industry leaders at WSU Everett (opening later in 2017) for students & the public. 

What's the ask?
This project needs your help to get off the ground! The ultimate goal is $10,000 and they've already secured $2,500 of that. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to get this project fully-funded and going by March 30th. Here’s the secure donation link. Also feel free to pass this on to other WSU alumni or friends would would want to help! 


A little more background if you want it...

Over a month ago, I found myself frustrated, just wanting to do something--anything--to help defend, articulate and emphasize the great responsibility of the Press. Reflecting on how I viewed the world as a college student and new grad 20 years ago (ahem), I wondered if current students and newly minted Comm grads understood the vital role they play in our Democracy--not just in platitudes, but for real.

I spoke to Marvin (Marcelo), now General Manager of NW Public Radio & TV and Associate Professor, and then met with Camille Perezselsky, the Assistant Director of Development about this desire to do something for/with the school. It just so happened, they too were thinking of kicking off a project up this alley. I immediately wanted to be a part of it so I'm asking alums and friends of the college to join me in supporting this new project.