• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

Applications convergence and personal privacy, Part 1

Oct 27, 20032 mins

* Privacy issues raised by applications convergence

One of the advantages of applications convergence is that employees can more easily gain access to customer data, especially via IP-enabled computer-telephony integration for customer service. The “screen pops” once common only in a call center can now be part of information displayed on any IP phone if a company chooses to integrate and display customer profiles with their customers’ incoming calls. This raises privacy issues about how the company will control the displayed customer’s information.

For example, let’s suppose your local retailer has deployed a phone system that provides your name, account numbers, account balance and history to the retailer’s credit-card department customer service representative. The information appears either on the representative’s desktop screen or on an IP phone when you call. Note that a customer service representative could be physically located in a traditional call center or in a distributed “uncenter.”

Certainly, you’d want the accounting department representative to have access to your profile so your account question can be answered. But would you also want the sales clerk in the furniture department to have access to your account information? Or would you want customer service representatives working from home to have your information stored (even in cache) on their laptops? Probably not. You and the retailer would both want to limit customer profile access to authorized persons in a secure environment.

So the IP call director now has to differentiate who should be given what information on their IP phone based on employee job type and perhaps even employee location. That makes business sense – and it is also a growing legal requirement. We’ll look at the legal requirements next time.