Intriguing Stories

Your Biometrics May Become Your Password

As technology advances, and with each new development, data security is lagging behind. In the not too distant future, biometrics will be at least in part, your new password. We’ve all seen fingerprint and retina scans in movies like Minority Report but technological advances have allowed more internal biometric data to be collected and identified as unique characteristics that can be considered a passcode to each individual. “Cardiac rhythms, finger veins and other internal biological signatures hold a wealth of differentiating features that may someday replace passwords and fingerprints.  AT&T has created a system to send an electro-acoustic signal through bone or skin to produce a “body signature,” then compare it to a database of signatures to grant or block access.”

“Since 9/11, the amount of biometrics collected in the United States has increased exponentially,” says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

“While current regulations lag behind technology, researchers are feverishly working to address people’s concerns—namely, what happens if a database holding your biometrics gets hacked? You can reset a password, but you can’t replace your fingertips or eyeballs.”


The Culprit May Be You! Mobile Madness!

Social media sites like Facebook have shown that people are willing to share incredibly personal information. Is it different when you choose to share with “friends” than when your information is gathered without your complete knowledge and agreement? How do you know your data is safe?

According to a 2015 survey by Lookout, our perception of our mobile privacy is quite different from the reality and those that have a higher belief in thinking they understand mobile privacy, specifically, Millennials, are represented well in this graphic.


Consumers are willing to share personal information in exchange for a benefit.  Those apps you downloaded collect your data and use it to target and track you perhaps through a low frequency bluetooth connection and iBeacon technology. What other data are you unknowingly giving away?

“iBeacon is the name for Apple’s technology standard, which allows Mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly. In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location.”

So you got a push notification of a sale at the store you just walked by in the mall.  Great!  Shop till you drop!  But do you know what you are giving up for that deal?  Who’s got your data?

Wearable Technology and the Benefit Trade Off. Who Wins?

Are consumers unknowingly giving away their personal data? How safe are you?

Wearable technologies like health bands, glasses,  and clothing, capture detailed information about an individual including personal health, location, and daily routines. Security risks are not just limited to identity theft or fraud but physical threats including stalking and more. According to Symantec, “all of the wearable activity-tracking devices examined, including those from leading brands, are vulnerable to location tracking.”

What is the trade off of benefit to risk with wearable technology and the Internet of Things? With the IoT and the potential for the volumes of data that will be gathered in the future, as consumers, we may choose the benefit without knowing the risk.

Who owns your collected data? Can insurance companies access your FitBit collected data and charge you a higher premium because of it? Did you know that each person has a unique heartbeat and the future of data security may include heartbeat biometrics? If your wearable technology is tracking your heart rate, can that data be captured for biometric security hacking? “Cardiac rhythms, finger veins and other internal biological signatures hold a wealth of differentiating features that may someday replace passwords and fingerprints.”

WearableGlassesTechnologyIn a 2014 article on, the future of facial recognition software combined with technology based glasses presents a whole new set of privacy issues. “’s recently released NameTag application for instance, will let “a user can simply glance at someone nearby and instantly see that person’s name, occupation and even visit their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles in real-time,” according to the company.”

Perhaps we’ll all start wearing masks as a security measure.  I can’t wait!

How Kids Get Their Kik’s

Kik Interactive was developed by students at Waterloo University in 2008.  In 2010, Kik Messenger app was developed and has since become the mobile chat app of choice for 40% of US teenagers (according to the company) contains an entire version of the internet inside its virtual borders.
Anonymity is the culprit behind the dangers linked to the Kik Messenger app.  Although financially valuable to Kik, which has been valued at $1bn, it is something that parents need to learn about ASAP.
Cyber security is a huge concern for parents and with the ongoing development in mobile applications, parents should be concerned. Mobile apps and chatbots are trending because of the move to mobile for more of our internet communications. Chatbots are software that replace multiple applications so that a person can find everything from the weather, to games to music.  There’s no need to go anywhere else.
The future of Chatbots could create a smartbot personal assistant for each of us inside our phones. Great for adults but for kids, this creates a space where they are vulnerable to the ugliness of the world.
According to an article in the New York Times, “law enforcement officials say it (Kik) has been linked to a growing number of abuse cases” and is linked to the death and murder of a 13 year old Virginia girl. “Kik is the problem app of the moment,” said David Frattare, commander of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”

Who Hacked Your Refrigerator?

The Internet of Things has huge potential for technological advances and for product development focused on consumerism but with each technological advancement also comes loss and risk.

In an article on Wired, Ken Westin, a security analyst at the software company TripWire  says “It’s kind of sexy to talk about hacking a refrigerator, or about how our watches are going to be hacked.” But he continues to explain that its the data that hackers are after. Its not your connected refrigerator or other devices that are the issue but the cloud data gathering that is the concern.

Between Dec. 23, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, security provider Proofpoint, said “it had uncovered what may be the first proven Internet of things-based cyberattack involving conventional household smart appliances including a refrigerator to steal Gmail users’ login credentials.”

Klint Finley of Wired suggests that “Today hackers often sell databases full of stolen credit card numbers, social security numbers and passwords. In the future, these databases could include even more personal information gathered from sensors and connected devices.”

As the Internet of Things evolves and the devices throughout our homes and in our lives are connected to each other, gathering data to supposedly make our lives easier, what information are we willing to give up and what risks are we willing to take in the name of convenience?


Social Swipe

Interactive media is the current and future wave of marketing technology, from wearable technology, Google Glasses, Fit bands and sensory billboards. I am drawn to companies that use marketing for the greater good, or just in the use of empowerment marketing, lifting people up instead of putting them down to make a sale.  A large part of marketing currently and in our past has been focused on the implication that one is not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not wealthy enough, just not enough. This mentality has worked well in the health and beauty industry, selling us everything from fad diets, vitamins and wrinkle creams.

But what happens when marketing challenges us to be better, not better looking, or better because we have more stuff, but better human beings. There is always a cause that we can get behind, saving children or abused animals. In fact, there are so many causes that sometimes it is overwhelming to determine where and how much to give. When people have too many choices, they often can’t choose at all. “As psychologists and economists study the issue, they are concluding that an overload of options may actually paralyze people or push them into decisions that are against their own best interest. Research also shows that an excess of choices often leads us to be less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide. There’s often that nagging feeling we could have done better.” (Tugend, 2010)

SocialSwipeSo the challenge is to not only make it as easy as possible for people to give, but to engage with them in a way that stands out from the clutter of all the sad appeals.  The Social Swipe brings emerging technology, cause marketing, and a global campaign together in an easy to use and engaging digital billboard. The campaign makes it easy for people to participate, almost to play with the interactive billboard.  Its a small donation that has a huge impact.

This is the type of creative marketing that I get excited about.  How about you?


When I’m Happy I Speak Spanish

I live in a predominantly Hispanic rural area in Santa Cruz County in Southern Arizona.  S.C. County borders Mexico at the city of Nogales, about 22 miles south of my home. This morning as I planted flowers in my backyard, Jehovah’s Witness representatives left a flyer in my front door, in Spanish. Was there an assumption that whoever lived here was Spanish speaking?  Usually its the other way around.

Just north of me is Tubac, a small tourist destination town known as “The Place Where Art & History Meet.” The “art” part is why I’m here. This small village, yes, its not even a town, generates the majority of taxes for the county and is populated largely by “snowbirds,” a two home retired population (not why I’m here.) So there is an interesting contrast between the local population, the workers at the restaurants and shops, and the shop owners and retirees. The Hispanics come to Tubac to work, then leave and go home.

Considering this population, you would expect that at least some of the marketing for shops and local events would include the Hispanic population.  Nope!

I use the Tubac experience as an example of a larger mentality when it comes to marketing to minorities. Companies often assume that since most Hispanics in the southwestern states of Arizona, California, Mexico and Texas speak some English, there is no need to go above and beyond to address them in their own language or with consideration of their specific culture differences.

Large companies know better than that and understand that the Hispanic market is one of the fastest growing populations in the country. “With Hispanic purchasing power approaching $1.5 trillion, this group is exceeding the purchasing power of every other minority in the country. Latino-owned businesses are also growing twice as fast as the national average, meaning Hispanic culture and needs are going to be a driving force in the industry, which is something businesses should certainly keep in mind.”

So how should companies reach this minority audience? Minorities often feel that they are caught between two worlds, even if born in the U.S., cultural identity starts at home and Hispanics value their cultural traditions. There are often multi-generations living in the same house together.  They celebrate with culturally specific food and music. Even second or third generation Hispanics in the US, fluent in English, speak Spanish at home.

Screenshot 2016-03-12 17.18.39

Hispanic millennials in particular, are highly connected digitally.

  • 54% of US Hispanic Smartphone Owners visited an online store
  • US Hispanics spend more time in online stores, via
    their mobile devices, than the general population
  • US Hispanics are 30% more likely to purchase a product advertised on a Social Site
  • US Hispanics also use technology to make the most efficient purchases.
  • 67% Go Online for UGC Content
  • 40% of online Hispanics create content and provide their opinions online
  • 80% of Hispanic adults use social media which is higher than the overall 72% of adults in the US. (Pew Research)

Like all millennials, marketing to Hispanic millennials should not only address their digital savviness for channels to reach them on, but cultural consideration should still be given in the content. “66% say it’s important to be recognized as Hispanic through culturally relevant content.” (Alcance Media Group). Second generation Hispanics, born in this country are defining themselves through social media and struggle with balancing the pressure at home of embracing the Hispanic culture and values while trying to fit in to the American culture. This identity crises was captured well in the AT&T Mobile Movement campaign, “Between 2 Worlds.”  In the video, one young man states, “When I’m angry I speak in English, when I’m happy I speak in Spanish.” That statement is very telling.

The top two phone service carriers, Verizon and AT&T have both created campaigns to reach this specific Hispanic market. In my opinion, AT&T has done a better job by using the target demographic as the spokespersons to speak to each other over Verizon’s use of a Latino celebrity that has cross over appeal. AT&T’s ad elaborates on the identity crisis of living in 2 worlds: Spanglish.

AT&T Mobile Movement: Between 2 Worlds

Verizon Paul Rodriguez Hispanic Celebrity Campaign


Did you see that coming?

The term “emerging” implies something new and “media” includes multiple platforms in communications, websites, social media, email, print advertising, newspapers, etc. The technology world is constantly changing as new developments are created. Emerging media matters because it changes the way we live.  The greatest impact current technology has on the way we live is in mobile phones and social media.


Image graphic credit.

Our society has become dependent upon cell phones to manage many aspects of our lives. According to Pew Research,

  • “67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.”
  • “44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.”
  • “29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.””

Social media does not only impact our daily routine and the way we communicate but has infiltrated numerous areas of our society. Voting and the election process has been greatly influenced by social media.  In the 2012 elections, people used social media to share how they voted as well as to encourage others to vote.

  • 22% of registered voters have let others know how they voted on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter.
  • 20% of registered voters have encouraged others to vote by posting on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter. (Source)

In the current 2016 Presidential elections, political ad “spending on social media is estimated to account for more than half of the $1 billion budget for digital media.”


Image graphic credit.

As I consider the current state of my life in regards to technology and emerging media, if I look back 5, 10, 15 years, I’d have to say, whoa, I didn’t see that coming!