An American, working for an Australian company, travelled to
India during the initial stages of a highly confidential research
and development project. Away from his family and friends, he used
Facebook to keep in touch. Unknown to him however, a competitor
also had access to his Facebook page and was able to work out where
he was, when he was there, and rationalised what he and his
employer company were doing.
There have also been many high profile "social media
disasters" suffered by large companies such as BP's
response to the Gulf Oil Spill or Apple's
There can be very real and serious consequences to unwitting
Tweets and Facebook status updates, and other social media
communications. Not only can the audience of the communication end
up being much wider than intended, but the communication can also
be recorded forever on the internet.
Appropriate privacy settings should be applied to all
communications that relate to business activities, so companies
need to be proactive in carefully examining the possible risks and
formulating policies in response.
Team members need to be trained in the application of the
policies in order to protect the confidentiality of business
activities globally and to protect the brand and reputation of
For assistance in formulating your risk management strategy and
policies contact Cooper Grace Ward partners David Grace, David
Roberts or Charles Sweeney.
Cooper Grace Ward was named Best Australian Law Firm in the BRW
Client Choice Awards 2010 - Revenue < $50m. Joint Best
Australian Law Firm in the BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 - Revenue
The firm has also been named as the fastest growing law firm in
Australia for 2009 by The Australian.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The ramifications of Apple's mistake were relatively minor, but examples of the power of metadata may be far less trivial.
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