I strikes me as unusual for Cisco to make social activist statements around privacy laws as a company (1). What would be Cisco’s motivation to call for social justice publicly. Logically there must be reasons.
To start, Cisco is calling on the U.S. government to develop a US federal privacy law that assures customers their data is protected. The American system should not just look to solve for today’s privacy discussions around monetization of customer data; it should aim to solve for the complex privacy needs of a world where tens of billions of devices are connected to the internet.
I also recorded this audio article on the Packet Pushers Briefings in Brief channel.
Calling for US Privacy Laws
It is a good thing that Cisco is adding to the debate on privacy. The lack of direction from government and social forums is a growing issue as tech companies (eg. Facebook) make outsized profits by exploiting the lack of controls or societal pressure.
As Cisco becomes a data company by operating cloud services and holding large amounts of personal and corporate data, its business has new risks to face.
|Woke marketing||Having your brand associated with social activism can be a winner. (2)|
|Legal Clarity||Cisco has a number of products that collect large amounts of customer and corporate data.
For example, Cloudcenter has complete visibility of customers business, Cisco’s WiFi Analytics are tracking people through retail spaces. Cisco licensing collects more than just asset data. Intersight has so much data it can make recommendations on configuration and operations.If the law is unclear, Cisco could face legal risks
|Law Enforcements||We have examples of law enforcement using data from smart assistants, fitness monitor and watches. It seems likely that law enforcement will use data from cloud services when pursuing financial crimes.|
|China||Lots of noise about Chinese companies and industrial espionage. Privacy laws could be useful for better protections and prosecutions|
I would note that most of these reasons would apply to many US companies operating globally.
The EtherealMind View
Making a public statement calling for privacy is nice. Free, ineffective and makes good marketing. What we should be looking is genuine action to demonstrate commitment.
Note also that these issues likely apply to all incumbent tech companies such as Dell, HPE and IBM who are slowly adapting to holding customer data and facing an uncertain privacy future.
Resources and Notes
Cisco Calls for Privacy to be Considered a Human Right | The Network : https://newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1965781
- I recognise that John Chambers did some community stuff to reduce boredom but it wasn’t aligned with Cisco.
- When Nike make the ad with a controversial sports person (Kapernick) they appealed to their customers.