Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Illinois revelations

The double delete.  The gmail account.  The personal phone.  All methods used to keep discussions out of FOIA, and today we see a pretty graphic example of the results from the University of Illinois investigation.  To quote from Inside Higher Ed this AM . . .

In one email, Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, said she and others had been warned by Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs, “not to use email.” She added, “We are doing virtually nothing over our Illinois email addresses. I am even careful with this email address and deleting after sending.”

Read more here, but that one paragraph from one email says it all.  Your PR people warned you.  You did it anyway.

Following up on yesterday, it's the age old digital trail.  Remember when Ohio State's band director swore he never swore at students?

Let me channel my inner Kaler with good ole Uncle Earl's oft paraphrased political advice:

Don't write what you can say,
Don't say what you can't whisper,
Don't whisper what you can't wink

Monday, August 10, 2015

Private email not safe

The recent resignation of Illinois includes details about that university's policy that ALL email is subject to FOIA, state issued or private.  As you notice in the link, her holding back private emails may or may not have been a key in her departure.

It reminds me of the case years ago in Louisiana where private emails used by administrators to circumvent public discussion and disclosure were ruled "in bounds" for a FOIA request.  It's been used at the federal level as well, and certainly about to be part of the upcoming political campaign.

Kinda like the Brady comment that the phone company records didn't reveal anything in DeflateGate . . . hello Houston Nutt days and NSA-style meta data.  You've got to have the device to reveal what was sent.  Anyone remember that public vs private phone miscue by Bobby Petrino?

Yet another reminder -- if its digital, its discoverable.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cue up R.E.M.

The rumblings of a "rights" bubble, ESPN's inability to sustain growth and other things that should shake university administrators to their core found in this speculative article in the WSJ.

The Mothership is considering direct to customer.

Bonus points if you get the blog title reference.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

You Are Not Anonymous

The Justice Department just took unsealing the details/IP addresses to another level by asking Reason.com to give up who made comments that could be seen as threatening.

No surprise in the world of Oh-No-You're-Not-Anonymous YikYak.

What I do wonder about, however, is how this will align with the Supreme Court's ruling regarding the Anthony Elonis case?  If threatening bodily harm to your ex-wife can be taken as First Amendment free expression/parody . . . . then how can Justice ask for the info of jack asses making trolling comments?  Seems like the quick defense is Elonis' -- it was all a joke.

More to come, obviously . . .

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Social Media Customer Service

More on the growing desire of the public to receive customer service via social channels, and the continuing lack of activity by institutions.  This Northridge Group study via Bulldog Reporter says 1/3 of institutions still do not answer social inquiries.

And that is leading to this:  42% of corporate execs believe consumers are using social media to shame them into some type of reaction.

Well, you reckon?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

No Win Anonymity

YikYak strikes again, and this case should strike terror in the hearts of all institutional (K-12, higher ed or other governmentals) administrators.

The Chronicle tells us today of the case of Univ. of Mary Washington and a lawsuit against the school for not going after anonymous threats via YikYak.  Tragic circumstances here with the murder of a student.(UPDATE: A more detailed account from WaPo, with references to other university who successfully went after YikYak users.)

We've seen cases at University of Rochester where they have gone to YikYak for information, and most famously at Michigan State.  In this case, the threat of campus violence and an on-campus public safety based cyber investigative unit got real time results.

I have spoken with colleagues at other major universities regarding the chasing down of spurious rumors.  We've had calls from media where they are using YikYak as an early warning tipsheet.

This unfortunate situation was predicted by my good friend and former colleague Debby Jennings of Tennessee.  In 2005.

We're sitting in Destin, Fla., at the annual SEC meetings, and I'm discussing the future potential for social media and streaming data and audio/video on our futures.  In bringing up "the Facebook" as we all knew it then, Debby surprised me and others by saying UT was not monitoring it.  Why?  Prophetically she responded, because our lawyers advised if we do, we'll be liable and have to take action on everything that is there.

Fast forward a decade.  Now we are told we cannot monitor students, particularly student-athletes, as that is an invasion of their privacy -- even though they represent our institutions by legal statue in may states.

Frankly, like Topix before it, YikYak is a digi-bully's dream.  All the ease of social media and none of that messy responsibility.  Not knowing all of UMW's circumstances, but what are we to do?  To effectively respond will require knowing who made the accusation.  YikYak won't like that -- eventually it will break down their model because they will comply in life-safety situations.

What happens when the next YikYak goes off-shore, lets say to Iceland, where privacy trumps public safety?

What the UMW and Michigan State cases should tell you once again, in a digital landscape, there really are no secrets.  If you make dangerous, terroristic or libelous statements, the chance of you getting discovered rests less with you and more with how bad the state wants to discover.  (Remember, Facebook is now the first subpoena for many divorce cases.)

Have no answers for you today . . . just food for thought.

Friday, May 01, 2015

PGA Fights the Future

In a cut your media off to spite them move, a Sports Illustrated contributor had her PGA credentials revoked for using Periscope.

So let me see . . . . a key influencer of public opinion about your sport gets banned for using new technology.

Fans may continue.

And golf's overall demo continues to fade.  (But not on Fade, no, never, not some digital thingamajig)

Not smart.