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Virtual Snooping

The modern-day snoop is all too often someone you know. If this consideration doesn't leave you paranoid and looking over your shoulder, it should.

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As digital marketing experts at our respective companies, we are keenly aware that we are expected to be responsible for a lot more than our humble job description acknowledges. We are no longer just overseeing the planning, development and execution of our organization’s marketing and advertising initiatives; we are expected to be aware of every tilt and trend, and knowledgeable about “all-things-digital”. A major part of that digital world includes reputation management and digital security. Therefore, it has become part of the CMO’s job to warn companies of looming digital threats that may affect the health of the company culture or those working there — and these days, this means cybersecurity in all its forms. So now, let’s be honest. Hacking is widespread and dangerous, and the headlines are full of breaches, from banks to department stores to the government. But there is another form of hacking that can affect our law firms as well. We all know (or should know) that millions of “others” are hacking and stalking exes, friends, family members, children, co-workers, competition and strangers. And just like the real-world “Peeping Toms” of yesteryear who hid by night to steal a glimpse of someone else’s privacy, the modern-day Peeping Tom is an anonymous digital voyeur who hides on the shadowy backside of IOT devices to steal a target’s privacy and security. What you may not know is that the modern-day snoop, like the original, is all too often someone you know. If this consideration doesn’t leave you paranoid and looking over your shoulder, it should. Welcome to 2017: The Year of Living Digitally, Dangerously This coming year, our communal resolution should not be about losing more, saving more or loving more — it should be about resolving more. Yet, as with most serious issues, solutions cannot even be considered until society admits it has a problem — and like a 2017 New Year’s Eve astronaut, I’m here to tell you “Humanity, we have a problem.” We are currently living in a society where too many of our citizens are addicted to being a “fly-on-the-wall,” aka, virtual snoops. Voyeurism is a uniquely obsessive and destructive addiction that is driven by human beings’ lust and desire to dominate and control while maintaining a façade of humanity. It is no surprise that 2016 studies have also confirmed that a parallel mental illness is on the rise — narcissism. The most concerning part of the “virtual Peeping Tom” mental illness is that a majority of society is secretly partaking in the addiction. The stats on those engaged in the subversive stalking and hacking of humanity’s privacy suggests that around one out of three people have hacked or stalked someone they know. With stats like that, it is clear why most of society is unwilling to admit or solve the issue. These stats also prove that the “virtual Peeping Tom” mental illness is truly out of control. At this point, one solution is not possible — multiple solutions must be considered. One of the first is to define hacking as a mental illness, not a creative pastime that only the “weird guy next door” partakes in. The second is handing out harsh consequences for the defined criminal activity to everyone who stalks or invades another’s privacy. Let’s stop rewarding virtual snoops with government jobs, paying them up to $500K for their sick behavior. 2017 is on the path to becoming the worst year yet for virtual Peeping Toms, thanks to the endless variety of Internet-connected gadgets we’re putting in our homes, and the interconnectedness of our digital lives, in general. Below are some stats that give insights into the growing problem:

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