Controlling Cell Phones the new IT Frontier

no cell phones

Personal cell phones are on the IT hit list.

It won’t be long before your employer starts jamming or confiscating your personal cell phone. Wait a minute isn’t that a tad hyperbolic? Wouldn’t that trigger an avalanche of “freedom of speech” lawsuits?  Wouldn’t people yell “fornicate elsewhere” and quit?  Ahh, if only it were so.  I would love to be wrong about this but I have a superb track record when it comes to predicating IT control freak trends.

In my long programming career I’ve never met a “liberty loving” IT manager. There’s something utterly intoxicating about being in a place where reliable minions, (dead computers for the most part), completely manifest your vision.  I’ve watched the most libertarian of programmers turn into Dilbertian despots when tasked with network security, software procurement or SOX compliance. IT’s first impulse is to control, control and control even if control is counterproductive.

Here’s the sad news. Most IT polices are counterproductive and they never fix the problems they claim to address.  Consider my case. I have never introduced a network virus, distributed proprietary company information or collaborated with competitors.  Everywhere I’ve worked had specific IT policies for these, and other corporate crimes, but I could have easily circumvented 95% of them at any time. The only defense any of my employers ever had was my personal honesty and integrity.

Unfortunately my personal honesty and integrity is beyond the control of IT and, as I have said before, control is key when it comes to IT. If IT cannot control it they won’t even recognize it!  This is why we end up with abominations like SOX — perhaps the must ludicrous bit of micro-managing nonsense ever foisted on American companies. Incidentally SOX does SFO when it comes to preventing the Enronesque crimes it was intended to prevent. Don’t believe me, ask Jon Corzine about where MF’s billions went.

Exactly where do personal cell phones fit into IT policies? When cell phones first appeared they were just phones. Now they’re web browsers, cameras, microphones, stereos, GPS receivers and recently full-fledged programming environments. So much power and all outside of IT’s control. Most employers keep lists of banned websites. What’s the use of tasking neutered lackeys with maintaining a list of banned websites if an employee can whip out an iPhone and browse at will? What’s the point of banning USB drives and locking down proprietary files if you can take a quick snapshot of your monitor and post it on Facebook?  IT has a personal cell phone problem and I can guarantee that whatever twisted solution their misguided minds fixate on it will have nothing to do with employee honesty and integrity.

Everybody Abandon Facebook Day

Yesterday was the first ever Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.   My favorite Everybody Draw Mohammed cartoon is shown below.

Da Glory-ass Koran

Da Glory-ass Koran

For the troglodytes among us Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was a sarcastic reaction to years of bullying, death threats and fatwas issued against cartoonists for the horrible crime of drawing caricatures of Mohammed.  The point of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was to drive home the simple fact that when it comes to free speech there are no sacred cows or prophets!  Nothing is beyond offensive satire.

For me free speech is an absolute inalienable right that overrides nonsense like religious belief.  If you attempt to regulate my speech I will resist.  The harder you push the more I will push back.  If you curtail or regulate my speech I will scream louder. If you pass laws restricting discourse I will break them. If you suppress my voice I will stop debating and start shooting.  And, if you think I am bluffing go ahead and call me on it.

Given the depth of this conviction I was sorely disappointed to see that Facebook dropped The Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page.  The cowardly weasels weren’t even responding to official complaints.  They just decided to self-censor themselves and a hundred thousand Facebook users as well.  Of course they had their reasons but let’s cut the crap.  They have shown us that when cards are in play they have no core beliefs beyond pimping user data to third parties for cash.

I cannot endorse such behavior so I deleted my Facebook account.  This was not an empty gesture for me.  As a divorced father living in another country I enjoyed seeing Facebook posts from my kids on a regular basis but sometimes we have to give up things we like when they clash with principles.

So I am inviting all that sincerely uphold free speech to join with me on June 5, 2010, (the day Facebook allegedly deletes my account), to celebrate Everybody Abandon Facebook Day by deleting your own Facebook account.