Though the facts around the attacks in Mumbai, India are only beginning to be uncovered, it is already known the those who planned, carried out and managed the attacks took full advantage of the latest advances in IT. Newspaper reports are now detailing the use of global positioning systems to guide the attackers across the water to the shore. They appear to have used Google Earth images to more quickly identify their intended targets once they reached Mumbai. They were able to speak to each other, coordinate and update their plans in real time through IP telephony such as Voice over IP-enabled cell phone connections and mask their identities and whereabouts during the operation. All of these technologies are highly advanced, simple to use, and very low in cost or free.
There are already many commercial initiatives underway to expoit advances in location services that pinpoint the number of individuals with shared profiles who are clustered in a given area (hall, street, hotel, stadium), linked via GPS found in handsets. It may not be unreasonable to expect stepped up discussion on security and data privacy features, and for these to take on a higher priority than they might have just one year ago.
To the extent that you roll out social networking projects, adopt location-based services, and ask customers to reveal more about who they are, where they live, and the places they frequent, take care to explain your privacy policies and the measures you put in place to protect them from unwanted exposure. We may not see a backlash to consumerization of IT trends, but we may see heightened concern about privacy and security.
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