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Businesses Struggle To Control Social Networking

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the some-struggles-are-doomed-to-failure dept.

Businesses 131

Lucas123 writes "Businesses in highly regulated industries are trying to strike a balance between workers who use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to communicate, and trying to satisfy federal requirements to monitor, capture, and audit all forms of electronic communications. As with instant messaging a decade ago, corporations are first blocking all access to the applications, and then considering what tools may be available to control them in the future. A cottage industry is being built around software that can not only control access to social networking websites but also ensure conversations over those websites can be stored for electronic discovery purposes."

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131 comments

That's true of my company (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160150)

I just got a first post on company time...

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161924)

social network controls bustiness.

Why not block them entirely? (3, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160184)

Aren't these people supposed to be, you know, working?

Re:Why not block them entirely? (4, Insightful)

the1337g33k (1268908) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160226)

Exactly, thats what I do. The company pays people to work, not play farmville.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (5, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160254)

Or post on Slashdot.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160362)

if only our raises were based on slashdot karma. I'd be a millionaire!

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160774)

if only our raises were based on slashdot karma. I'd be a millionaire!

And your raise would be max $50.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161442)

Oh, is -that- what the bosses are waiting for?

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160570)

Slashdot has saved the place I worked more time than I've wasted reading it. I've learned how to do stuff that I would never find reading Tech Manuals and taking classes.

Practical application of practical experience is way better than theoretical classes on optimal situations.

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice they are not.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160744)

Slashdot has saved the place I worked more time than I've wasted reading it.

The first idea that came to my mind was you posting links to your competitors' websites on /. (Then came the second sentence, of course.)

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161112)

Slashdot has saved the place I worked more time than I've wasted reading it. I've learned how to do stuff that I would never find reading Tech Manuals and taking classes.

How so?

I've not thought of Slashdot as a tech-learning/tech-howto site for years.

I say this in all seriousness. Most everything I read on Slashdot comes from another site I've visited earlier.

I suppose there's the "Ask Slashdot" section, but let's take a look at the last few entries in that section:

- Can We Legislate Past the H.264 Debate?
- How To Behave At a Software Company?
- How Do You Handle Your Keys?
- Consumer Webcams With High-Quality Sensors?
- Best Way To Sell a Game Concept?
- Chains of RFCs and Chains of Laws?
- Hot Aisle Or Cold Aisle For Containment?
- What Happened To Obama's Open Source Adviser?
- Recourse For Draconian Encryption Requirements?
- Computer Competency Test For Non-IT Hires?

That's just the last page that comes up under the category. Do any of those qualify for saving a workplace?

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161916)

One that has helped me at my work was the announcement of Microsoft dropping the requirement for hardware support of the XP mode in windows 7.

It doesn't have to be a how to or such, it just has to be informative.

It just has to be News for Nerds.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162034)

One that has helped me at my work was the announcement of Microsoft dropping the requirement for hardware support of the XP mode in windows 7.

Was Slashdot really the first place you read about it? And did it really save your place of work?

The exaggeration in the post to which I replied was my point.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162246)

Things I've learned about on Slashdot, while waiting for old style shit to get done ....

I learned of RIS (WDS) on /. and was getting ready to deploy it when I heard about DriverPacks on /. and then about using MSI based silent installers, and combined them all to now set up a workstation from scratch.

Before I read about such things on Slashdot, I used to run around and use Windows XP CD to install XP by hand, manually typing in Product keys and what not. Four to six hours of babysitting installs. Per computer.

Now, I can RE IMAGE a machine using RIS (WDS) with about 5 mins of tech time. It provides a consistent installation base for all users.

Map "My Documents" to Network Share and now you have a system where I don't care what is wrong with it, I just re-image it. Virus? Don't care. Hardware failure? I don't care. Crappified computer? I don't care.

I don't have to spend hours trying to fix something. Now it takes five to ten minutes of my time, and less than two hours total time to have a fully patched (slipstream patches to the RIS image) and ready system.

So, compared to the former ways of doing things, I now have the time to work on more interesting projects. We can get more done with less people, provide better service and support, and respond quicker to problems and resolve them more quickly.

THAT is just one example of a "how to" found within the comments of /. Oh, BTW, this solution cannot be found anywhere in any training for any certification that I've ever seen.

Solving a real problem with real innovative solutions that requires experience and a bit of creativity.

So yeah, /. has saved thousands of man hours.

For what it's worth... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162820)

THAT is just one example of a "how to" found within the comments of /. Oh, BTW, this solution cannot be found anywhere in any training for any certification that I've ever seen.

Back in 2004/2005 when I was working on Linux-based clusters for a company, I got to wondering if this could be done with Win-based PCs - my curiosity came from the fact that I could easily do this with individual Linux nodes when they went bad due to hardware failure, or whatever other reason for the failure.

So I went searching to see if it was possible. Turns out is was indeed possible. Know where I found the information? A search on Microsoft's very own Technet.

And yeah, it can be found in several different training materials too.

That was just me and my own little non-Microsoft oriented curious mind. I knew where to look first, though. It wasn't Slashdot.

Again, I'm answering to the exaggeration in your original post. If you are relying on Slashdot to "save the place you work", you're in the wrong line of work.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162408)

He clearly works at a software company where he makes High quality web cam videos in H.264 for a potentially illegal over encrypted game concept they are pitching about Obama's missing open source advisor for non IT personnel. That dude probably is worried he's going to lose his job TO /.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Informative)

b4k3d b34nz (900066) | more than 3 years ago | (#32163446)

It's usually in the comments that I find gems of knowledge (or stupidity), not the stories.

For gems of stupidity I just wait until kdawson's shift.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161118)

Slashdot has saved the place I worked more time than I've wasted reading it. I've learned how to do stuff that I would never find reading Tech Manuals and taking classes.

This must have been a number of years ago. In 2010 it's safe to stop reading Slashdot without fear of missing out on any important or insightful articles or discussions.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160392)

My employer also blocks them. At least I can confirm that facebook is blocked (also youtube and others).
For facebook, though, here someone has found a workaround: using the secure server (https://www.facebook.com). Id doesn't allows for the full facebook expereince but you do get to read most posts.
No farmville nor any third party plugins are accesible (at lest to my knowledge).

Re:Why not block them entirely? (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160516)

The company pays people to work, not play farmville.

Then the company is stupid. We have decades' worth of scientific and anecdotal evidence that putting human monkeys in tight little boxes is Not A Good Thing, both for the monkey and the maker of the box.

My employees have two rules to follow: 1. Get the job done. 2. Don't embarrass the company. Compliance with them ensure a wide variety of perks and other 'human' touches which both they and I appreciate. Anything not covered by the two rules is already small potatoes and not worth pulling your hair out. Everybody wins.

Disclaimer: This management method looks like it would be a bitch to scale. Not my fucking problem, thank Cthulu.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160672)

Other than the typical slashdot self-entitlement 'research' you're going to have to give some sort of citation to backup your claim.

I would have to say that the exact opposite has been shown.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160826)

I would have to say that the exact opposite has been shown.

Other than typical Slashdot trolling, you're going to have to give some sort of citation to "backup" (sic) your claim.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160828)

I have no idea what you're talking about. It may help if you quote the relevant bit of text you are responding to.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161460)

I think he means:

Then the company is stupid. We have decades' worth of scientific and anecdotal evidence that putting human monkeys in tight little boxes is Not A Good Thing, both for the monkey and the maker of the box.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161532)

In that case, they deserve their flamebait mod.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161696)

Why, because won't provide a link or proof of your statement and you expect to be taken at your word?

Actually, the last statement by you makes me think your original statement should be modded down. You offer no supporting evidence of your claim. Even when you have been asked for it

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161778)

Why, because won't provide a link or proof of your statement and you expect to be taken at your word?

No, because both of you fail at reading comprehension and basic debating skills, LOL. Try again, see if you can go for a more nuanced and less lazy response this time.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (-1, Flamebait)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162102)

Who the fuck said I disagreed with your original statement.

My problem with you fuck wad is you think you should be taken at your word with out any supporting evidence.

I completely understood your original post and agreed, but I still think your a flame bate just from your attitude.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0, Troll)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32163004)

Who the fuck said I disagreed with your original statement.

No one did. Now do you understand why you fail at reading comprehension?

My problem with you fuck wad is you think you should be taken at your word with out any supporting evidence.

Fuckwad is one word, not two.

I completely understood your original post and agreed, but I still think your a flame bate just from your attitude.

Well, knock me over with a feather! Maybe if you had spent a little more time on your original comment, instead of these hasty, poorly-formed sentences, we wouldn't be sitting here making fun of you.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161134)

There is research that shows the average worker in the information fields (not assembly line folks) are moving more towards mixing work and home between the work and home environments. I was at a Microsoft event last week where they showed a graph of that (based on research). Unfortunately, this was an NDA presentation and I can't find the link to a non-NDA version. It resonated with me though as I do find myself reading slashdot at work, working on weekends or evenings at home and pretty much indiscriminately mixing the two. Now, my default state in the office is "work mode" and at home it is "home mode", but the two do mix quite a bit. From what I saw in the audience, nobody disputed the chart and most were in agreement with it.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160726)

Then the company is stupid. We have decades' worth of scientific and anecdotal evidence that putting human monkeys in tight little boxes is Not A Good Thing, both for the monkey and the maker of the box.

Don't waste your breath. A large part of the Slashdot crowd considers employee's to be company property or at best indentured slaves.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160742)

My employees have two rules to follow: 1. Get the job done. 2. Don't embarrass the company.

Seems reasonable, but Number 2 may be harder than you think [inc.com].

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161280)

There is only one moral in there: Never, ever, ever give out your real info on places you don't want linked to you.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (4, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160760)

Disclaimer: This management method looks like it would be a bitch to scale.

Good point; it may be worth considering that if your company is so big that treating people like human beings doesn't scale, it's time to break up into smaller, more manageable units.

I read somewhere that 3M Corp actually does that, breaking off independent business units for each product line. As soon as a particular unit gets to be above 300 people, they figure, they can safely be split in two. If one of the two parts can't survive on its own, they let it die, as it was probably a drain on the bottom line anyway.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160894)

Some interesting points there. Shame that advocating breaking up successful companies in order to maximize employee contentment (and, perhaps, productivity and other 'useful' things) would make an MBA have a heart attack.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32162270)

I know Gortex does this as well. I believe I read it in Malcolm Gladwell's book Tipping Point

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161348)

"My employees have two rules to follow: 1. Get the job done. 2. Don't embarrass the company."

Generally a good thing, but this indicates that you're not in one of the "highly regulated" industries to which the article refers. It's a very different game.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161486)

Actually, I am, since we're a law practice.

But another one of the things I do "different" is that I hire people based on brains, not skills or experience. Not that the latter two aren't important, but that having brains will get you skills and experience, but skills and experience don't get you brains.

I also pay more than everybody else. The point: Compliance is easy. Trust is hard. Guess which one I've decided to concentrate my energies and money on?

Re:Why not block them entirely? (2, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162210)

Then the company is stupid. We have decades' worth of scientific and anecdotal evidence that putting human monkeys in tight little boxes is Not A Good Thing, both for the monkey and the maker of the box.

Amen.

The only thing we need to do to get a proper perspective on this problem to change the headline slightly:

Businesses Struggle to Control Their Staff

Suddenly, it becomes crystal clear that this is an administrative issue more than it is a technical one. Yes, compliance with federal regulation is a daunting task. It's not even reasonable to attempt it without active buy-in participation of the employees. I don't want to go all Princess Leia on you, but there's a point to be made about tightening one's grasp too far.

Consent and a collective sense of responsibility are far more powerful tools when dealing with issues like confidentiality and corporate ethics.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160968)

hehe that's kind of what what I posted 2 hours ago but thanks to a /. error my post ended up in the wrong thread. This summary was scheduled to be posted at 1:27 PM eastern time for a while instead of 3:09 PM...

Short story: I agree with you but I went a little farther and my concern wasn't really if people were working or not but if information leaked through those sites. Bear in mind that people can still leak clues about sensitive information at night, when off their working hours...

My solution might seem unrealistic but it might come to that eventually. It takes a while for organizations to adapt to new trends...

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1647162&cid=32158476 [slashdot.org]

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1647162&cid=32159502 [slashdot.org]

Cut and paste from the tab still open in my navigator:
Technology: Businesses Struggle To Control Social Networking on Monday May 10, @01:27PM
Posted by Soulskill on Monday May 10, @01:27PM
from the some-struggles-are-doomed-to-failure dept.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160258)

What are you doing here on Slashdot? Get back to work!

Re:Why not block them entirely? (4, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160292)

Aren't these people supposed to be, you know, working?

There exist lines of work that both require access to social media sites, and require capture/reporting of said access.

RFTA. It is quite interesting.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160684)

Citation needed.

Other than someone working at facebook please show me the line of work that requires you to have a facebook account?

Considering that it didn't exist 10 years ago I highly doubt you'll find any such 'requirement' short of a job made up just so someone could sit there and dick around on facebook.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160840)

This isn't Wikipedia, you faggot. We don't ask for citations here.

Lots of companies have a presence on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites for marketing purposes. They have employees who post news and other updates for their customers to follow in realtime. Yeah, those employees use social media sites as part of their job.

Fuck, you're so dense and ignorant.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (3, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160880)

Pretty much any company that produces a product has a justification for having at least some of their employees involved in social networking. I work for an organization that lives and dies by public perception and participation. A portion of our communications department is devoted to social networking.

As the person in charge of IT policy, I fought against giving people access for the longest time. I based my argument on the security considerations of social networking sites (Flash exploits, Javascript vulnerabilities, etc.) I eventually lost the battle because I can see the compelling reasons to allow access. The pros outweigh the cons in my particular organization. I had to setup an extra layer of redundency including up to date workstation images and additional security software (proxy / webfilter, etc). I'd rather block the sites entirely but in the end it wasn't my call.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162022)

So you're talking about the marketing types. Yes. Anything to keep them the hell away from the rest of us. Go log on Facebook, marketing dude.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160900)

Citation needed.

Other than someone working at facebook please show me the line of work that requires you to have a facebook account?

Anyone involved in SEO, advertising, hiring, market research, trending, product branding, et al. Facebook has 350 million users...pretty foolish to disregard this as a mere nuisance.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161196)

Actually many companies are connecting with customers through facebook, twitter, etc. It may just be a fad or it may last. I don't know. But I do know there are a lot of company pages appearing on facebook - http://www.facebook.com/Chevron [facebook.com] is an example. The employees who have access to these type of accounts certainly need to be able to logon and post their updates and connect with their customers. Similarly, I understand some companies are giving support through twitter as well. So, although I would certainly be the first to admit that only a small number of folks at these companies need this access, they do indeed need it to perform the role they have been asked to perform.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162504)

A friend of mine is a marketing and business consultant. I'm not sure of exact numbers, but something like half his business comes from either Facebook or Twitter.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160770)

"There exist lines of work that both require access to social media sites, and require capture/reporting of said access."

And those people are so few compared to your average farmville-r that they can be easily whitelisted. What's your point?

Re:Why not block them entirely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160398)

Thats a rather 1970's view of the world.

The reality is, Corporations, even my own, have presence in the social networks. But, they actively block access to these same networks by everyone within the company.

Then, HR, comes along, and sifts through these same social networks looking for activities that are not in line with Company Policy, and start terminations of users doing things within these same networks on their own time.

But, more to your point, to be truly "working" in many corporate situations does require the ability to get to these sites. Especially as they become more and more enmeshed in the rest of the web as we know it.

Blocking this access is silly, as any good usage policy and a proper bit of manager oversight should be able to keep abusers from playing games all day long.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160424)

There are those who not only like the idea of turning every waking second (and sleeping, if they can manage it) of your life into an opportunity for you to absorb advertising and propaganda, but have contracted with others to be paid very large amounts of money to ensure such a world becomes inevitable.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160646)

We are.

What's the matter? Doesn't your job revolve around social networking sites and virtual worlds? No? Maybe you should get a cooler job.. :)

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

sean_nestor (781844) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160714)

In some cases, your work is your social network. I work as a sysadmin for an insurance agency, and probably the most important day-to-day function for the insurance agents here is keeping in touch with clients. The ones that are "hip" enough to know about Facebook et al can see the value these things could have in doing business, but nobody has any delusions of being able to use one in any useful fashion because of regulatory compliance.

First, the only social networking site you're allowed to have a profile on is LinkedIn, which is fitting because it's designed from the ground up to do nothing but exchange business information in the most factual and boring way possible. Access to Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter is blocked in the office by our corporate-run firewall, and if you get caught discussing business with clients on a personal profile with one of these sites, you're subject to being written up.

Second, every change, even correcting a typo, requires submitting paperwork and waiting a matter of weeks to hear a "yea" or "nay" from corporate; given that timeliness is a key factor in most social networking sites, this fact alone renders them completely useless.

Most end up passing on making a profile at all, since it ends up being a huge hassle for little benefit compared to just calling people and meeting in person the old-fashioned way. I find it hard to believe there isn't some better middle-ground that corporate entities can find which would leverage communication technologies with adequate record-keeping.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160996)

For some people, posting on social networking sites is their work. Three quarters of the users here are Microsoft shills, and the other two thirds are Applostles.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161140)

ssh -D 1080 me@myhouse

Firefox, socks proxy, localhost 1080.

Done. :P For extra credit, set Firefox to resolve DNS across the sock proxy, and exclude your work internal LAN.

Re:Why not block them entirely? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#32163224)

Why not block them entirely?

Well, for one thing, because between iphones, blackberries, androids, and windows mobiles, pretty much everyone and their dog can trivially bypass any corporate controls.

What's the solution? Prevent employees from bringing their cellphone to work? Except in isolated scenarios that just isn't going to be enforceable, or even practical.

WTF?!? (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160242)

From TFA:

Social networking sites have proved valuable for sales-lead generation, marketing and general broker-client relations, but regulators have been quick to take notice and to offer the same warnings they did more than a decade ago when e-mail and instant messaging (IM) became common.

Seriously. What idiot wants his financial transactions posted on FaceBook?

Re:WTF?!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160304)

Someone hoping to manipulate the market in some small way? Even if its a few percent you can make loads
like I did with P&G the other day.

zOMG!!! This stock is PONIES! (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160608)

Someone hoping to manipulate the market in some small way?

The problem with that is that you're only scamming the people who have already "friended" you.

And you're scam has to be visible to them. So if they "friend" anyone who asks, your message will probably be lost in the regular flood of messages.

I think this article is just badly written.

Re:WTF?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160420)

where does that say anything about posting financial transactions? in many industries, being a broker is basically pretending to be people's friend. following and posting on their facebook/linkdn/twitter pages can definitely be an asset there. it's not like they're actually using it to conduct business, they use it to keep in touch, stay friendly, extend relationships. when it's time for actual business, the telephone is still the number one tool.

Re:WTF?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160492)

From TFA:

Social networking sites have proved valuable for sales-lead generation, marketing and general broker-client relations, but regulators have been quick to take notice and to offer the same warnings they did more than a decade ago when e-mail and instant messaging (IM) became common.

Seriously. What idiot wants his financial transactions posted on FaceBook?

Me too!

Re:WTF?!? (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160706)

There's rules about what financial advisers can and can't advertise with. Basically, everything they put out to the customers usually has to be put through their broker dealer's compliance department. "Offering the same warning they did more than a decade ago" just means reminding them that if you're using Facebook or Twitter to communicate with your clients you better be putting it through compliance first.

Seems like a game you can only lose. (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160280)

I mean there are enough almost trivial ways to hide information in pretty much any channel when the 2 parties get to meet up before hand to agree a protocol.

I'd almost ask why the even try.

"hi, mike, what time's the meeting today" or "Morning,how're the kids" can carry enough information to let someone game the system.

Social networking just adds a few bands.

Re:Gaming the System (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161308)

20 degree tangent here, but speaking of gaming the system, some marketers are wheeling out the line "Hi, I have $Boss 's cell number but I just don't have it with me. Can you give it to me?" They're trying to game the "OMG you blocked a call to $Boss" pressure.

However, I drill back the reply "Great, so you can look his number up in your records can call him on his cell. Have a nice day."

Re:Gaming the System (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161744)

I've been getting the same thing but "oops, I misdialed your extension instead of $whomever. Could you just transfer me?"

Considering my extension is the same digit 3 times, I can't see how they possibly misdialed.

Re:Seems like a game you can only lose. (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161310)

If you are correct that most electronic communication is in code and rendered useless, why are email and IM discovery rules still followed after a decade? The article mentions a case that started from one text message, so it seems capturing all electronic communication can be important, as there is real evidence to be found there. Watching people's email and not bothering with facebook would make it far too easy to get through the cracks, so it makes sense to cover all the bases.

I agree it wouldn't be that hard to keep incriminating statements out of electronic communication, but between people not thinking ahead and being so reliant on their Blackberries and Twitter and whatnot you should get plenty of data in plain sight upon discovery. Not to mention even innocuous statements can still be useful with the right context. For example, if you have a timeline of a crime at X company, and you have two people consistently sending emails that fit the timeline, it will at least prompt a few extra interviews.

Re:Seems like a game you can only lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161700)

If you are correct that most electronic communication is in code and rendered useless,...

No one said that. The parent said that it is possible to communicate in code. You are attempting to build a straw man. FAIL

Re:Seems like a game you can only lose. (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32162898)

From GP:

I'd almost ask why [they] even try.

Thus implying coding beyond interpretation must be really common.

What about Slashdot? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160310)

Actually, that reminds me... I have paperwork I should be doing.

Good old personal responsibility... sigh.

Old tangible vs. intangible model. (4, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160320)

Hm. I wonder if we perhaps need to rethink the difference between communication and documentation. The current rule seems to be that in regulated industries, any electronic document is subject to documentation/retention requirements. However this comes from an old model, where documents were somehow "official". So things like face-to-face conversations, or telephone calls, were not required to be recorded and archived. But anything written on paper was supposed to be archived to create a paper-trail, and because these were the "official documents".

In a modern world, some electronic documents (PDFs, word processor documents, emails, etc.) have taken the place of "official paper documents", and other electronic communications (instant messaging, social networking sites, etc.) have taken the place of the less-formal communication modes. (Obviously phones and face-to-face conversations still exist, also.)

On the one hand, it seems like the more documentation we can retain in regulated industries, the better off we are. (In case of negligence or malfeasance, it makes it possible to assign blame, bring people to justice, avoid repeating mistakes, etc.) On the other hand, as long as we are allowing some communication modes to be informal or undocumented, then allowing other modes that are also undocumented doesn't seem to change much. (People who want to have secret conversations will surely find a way to do it.)

I'm not sure what the right answer is. But I'm not convinced that making all electronic modes of communication subject to the same level of recording/documentation/archiving really makes sense.

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160496)

The problem is that in a regulated industry (in all industries, actually), there is no such thing as a communication that is not "official." If one of your agents makes a representation, and one of your stakeholders acts on that representation, then you are responsible for it. It doesn't matter how that representation was communicated. Whether or not the document was stamped "official" or not is irrelevant.

What's happening now is that firms are given the tools for rapid and wide communication, and they are coming up against the same old problems of information leakage and people saying things that they shouldn't. But unlike the old days when such things were just verbal and impossible to capture, now they are persistent and can be automatically captured.

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (2, Insightful)

BuffaloBandit (955011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161258)

Agreed.

The issue is that with an actual in person conversation, there is no ongoing record of that conversation and the content of that conversation are heresay. It's one person's word against the other, and without a tape recorder, no way to know what was actually said. With the various forms of new communication (of which I'll even include The Web), there are varying degrees of permanence. I can post a bad share price to my website for 15 minutes, and then correct the error, if someone buys a share of my company based on that price, I am obligated to honor that. However, without proper record keeping, how can either party prove what was on the site when the purchase was made. As such, there are regulations in place that specify that Web content must be discoverable, so that those answers can be determined. It's complex, but not overly complex, because I own the servers on which the information gets published. I simply save a copy of every version of a file, every time it's published and save a state of the database. Presto magic.

Things start to get really complicated when I no longer own the infrastructure. If I post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slashdot, or wherever and misquote a shareprice, then that information is controlled by somebody else. It's still considered public communication by the legal and regulatory entities, but I can't reproduce it. I can't even be sure that it's retained and could be reproduced by the site on which I left the remark. This is no different than the environment that has existed since the days of BBC forums and the comment sections of blogs. The issue now, is that the form of communication now has a name: Social Media. As such, many of these issues are actually making their way to the individuals who manage risk at these heavily regulated industries and the questions are being asked.

I don't deny that the regulations are outdated and were written for a time when the printed page was the primary method of communication, but in the space between the current rules and the new ones, there is a tremendous risk for those organizations who have to comply and a huge opportunity for an industry of service providers to step in and put their minds at ease.

The same debate raged when email hit the scene. Seems silly now, but that's just the way things go.

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161290)

The problem is that in a regulated industry (in all industries, actually), there is no such thing as a communication that is not "official." If one of your agents makes a representation, and one of your stakeholders acts on that representation, then you are responsible for it. It doesn't matter how that representation was communicated. Whether or not the document was stamped "official" or not is irrelevant.

Of course this isn't so. If you decide to sue the company I work for based on something I said on Slashdot, when their lawyers finish laughing they'll have your case summarily dismissed so fast it will make your head spin. I might get fired in the bargain, though.

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161260)

I can't help but be reminded of the whole, "we had lots of valuable meetings" followed by "What was captured from those meetings?" from a consultant, followed by (blank stare) from workers the consultant was brought in to help.

Moving stuff onto social networks is actually a leap forward in this regard. It's a lot easier to parse logs from social networks than it is to search audio-visual records of meetings, at least with present technology. Perhaps in the future, you'll be able to enter a simple text search like, "SQL implementation choice" and get to a 2 minute snippet of video from the meeting where that was discussed.

Ahhhh... so that's why we chose Acme Database...

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161538)

Turn the problem around: With phone calls and face-to-face conversations, you can have witnesses who noticed the suspects frequently talking in the hall, what they talked about, whether they seemed suspicious, etc. You won't have as many/any witnesses of someone sending emails or posting to facebook, so recording all of this is your best substitute.

Re:Old tangible vs. intangible model. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161964)

One of the things this model tries to prevent is an agreement on price fixing. However, it has been demonstrated that the sole ability to modify prices is a good enough communication medium to recognize calls for a price-fixing. Maybe it is time that we update these practices ?

Um, Mr. Business? A clue for you: (-1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160354)

BUSINESS is a social activity. PEOPLE control business. Not the other way around. Same as in a DEMOCRACY the PEOPLE cast the votes, and the "value" of your money is a distraction from REAL values.

Capiche?

Now go back to snaking my toilet. Dumbass.

Re:Um, Mr. Business? A clue for you: (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160550)

You poor, deluded fool.

One day you'll wake up and see how different the real world is from this fantasy world you live in. Business owns your ass, and government owns your ass. In exchange you are allowed a mediocre existence and a placebo called a "vote".

Re:Um, Mr. Business? A clue for you: (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161268)

Business doesn't own me.

One business has negotiated to pay a fee for a portion of my time, from which it makes a small profit and I make a large one.

The rest of businesses are my bitches. Even the cable company, which for now provides only my 30-mbps internet connection but soon won't even do that, since fiber is coming to my 'hood.

And my vote is used wisely, not thrown away as no doubt yours is. I interact with the political animals in my purview, and ensure they nod their heads when they are listening to what I say. I don't sit back, throw up my hands, and consider myself unimportant.

Then they would own me.

You cannot control it, merely hope to harness it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32160426)

To paraphrase Process Leia, The more you tighten your grip, the more slips thru your fingers.

Where I work (the stuff I do when not commenting on Slashdot), they're in the process of trying to harness LinkedIn to increase sales, however, alot of people have difficulty with the concept. The old model consisted of cold calls and "walking the streets". The new hustle is e-mails and add me as your friend.

Trying to teach a fifty year old salesman what his granddaughter does with ease is almost baffling.

  Management pondered with the concept of controlling everything but I recommended harnessing it rather then controlling it - it is the only way.

Until the first lawsuit. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160632)

The reason for the documention (and control that such requires) is to keep the company on the right side of the law.

Being able to show the EXACT communication that took place can save a lot of money in fines.

Re:You cannot control it, merely hope to harness i (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160832)

Trying to teach a fifty year old salesman what his granddaughter does with ease is almost baffling.

I'm fifty years old you insensitive clod. But I'm a software developer, not a sales drone.

I'm sure there some 50 year olds out there with grandchildren. I'm not one of them. Yes, I'm sure.

I had a laugh the other day when I told my daughter (recent uni. grad), and her friends who she was skyping with, about snakes, baby chicks, and chatroulette.

Go figure.

Re:You cannot control it, merely hope to harness i (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161900)

Oh, please tell me that it involved feeding one of those animals to the other and and thus horrifying chatroulette users in a way that won't put you on an offender list.

HTTP over SOCKS over SSH over SSL thankyouverymuch (3, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160554)

Websense can suck it.

Re:HTTP over SOCKS over SSH over SSL thankyouverym (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160700)

If you think you're special because you can do that to get around a block then you are confused. If you can use this sort of workaround then your admins are either idiots or don't actually want to stop you, they just want you to go out of your way enough that its obvious you were breaking the rules.

Either way, you aren't special.

why not just enjoy having internet??? (1)

kujokane (1717788) | more than 3 years ago | (#32160610)

I'd be happy just to have internet access where I work. Also if we get caught with cell phones in our building, we're fired on the spot.

My employer uses Websense. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32161288)

. . .and blocks Facebook, MySpace, the entire .blogspot.com domain, and YouTube. Wordpress.com is not blocked. Flickr used to be available, but they started blocking that a year and a half ago.

Only Marketing/PR (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32161464)

Only Marketing/PR has access to Facebook and Twitter. Even our public wireless access points don't have it. What's funny is that every once in a while they have a drawing or promotion to get employees to follow or friend the company's accounts. The links to the Facebook and Twitter accounts are on the default home page for all the internal browsers.

Use a proxy like SocialTALK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32163254)

All these great tools are coming out that control this. Maybe companies should allow but monitor for keywords for their company name...so you can post, but you can use words that reference your company.

Social Networks are Auto Archiving (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32163256)

What with the library of congress archiving every twit and facebook allowing private data access to 3rd party companies, it seems like data retention is already being done for you.

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