Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right…
At many of my presentations, I say, "Finally, I'm able to exploit my cynicism and paranoia as an excellent career choice!" I did one such presentation at LACBA Tax Night a couple of weeks back with my LPMT colleague, Gideon Grunfeld. We have some fun with the subject matter by playing the attorney version of good cop/bad cop. I terrify the attendees just a bit, then Gideon illustrates why they shouldn't go overboard with worry.
He's right, of course. There's just one problem. So am I. I'm proud of my paranoia; it's what my clients expect of me. Heck; someone has to play Chicken Little and accurately assess the risk. After all, sometimes, the sky really is falling! What's the most important determining factor? Context. A product or service can be of benefit and detriment at the same time.
Gideon used the example of accidentally locking his keys in his car. He didn't have the availability of one of those, call-us-and-we-unlock-the-door-remotely services, so he had to have someone respond. When he was ready to provide the location, he was told, "That's ok, you left your cell phone on in the vehicle and we know exactly where your car is." File that under, benefit.
Take a look at this article on the short-lived app, Girls Around Me. I bet several of you who thought I was over the top when I advised major caution in revealing your constant whereabouts on Twitter, Foursquare and/or Facebook, might think differently now. File that under, detriment.
As to what to worry about – and how much – that's up to you; as individuals, technologists, and especially, attorneys.