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Before the 1990s, two technology domains were utterly independent—communicating and computing. A business typically had a "PBX" telephone switch (hardware) from manufacturers such as Northern Telecom or Mitel with extension phones on each employee's desk. The company also had a "mainframe" or "minicomputer" from manufacturers such as IBM, DEC or Honeywell with "3270 'dumb' terminals" on each employee's desktop.
Business personnel used the extension phones to personally communicate and the computer terminals to process data and share it. There were no integrations between these two systems. Each manufacturer kept the specifications of the internal workings of their devices confidential and proprietary and didn't want any third-party equipment connecting to them.
In the late 1980s, startup companies such as pcDialog and Dialogic Corp created circuit cards that one could install inside a personal computer and connect to phone lines. These cards could dial or answer phone calls, generate and decode "TouchTones," and record and playback digitized audio. These hardware devices installed inside computers made the new "Voice Processing" industry possible. This spark ignited the Telecommunications Revolution, merging the communicating and computing domains.
As president/CEO of US Telecom, author JJ Kelly was one of those pioneer developers creating applications for automated voice-telephony communications. At first, there was resistance by the manufacturers who did not want to open up their closed platforms for integrations. JJ was a founding charter member of national committees established to break through this resistance and set standards and specifications for interoperability between communicating and computing platforms.
It is important to note that before the Telecommunications Revolution, everyone expected to collaborate with coworkers over the computer system, but they expected their personal communications by phone to be private. Over the last two decades, Big Tech has conditioned us to accept their premise that they have the right to access all content on their platform that now does both the computing and the communicating.
We have abandoned our expectation that our personal electronic communications should be private. Anyone under age 35 has no memory of the expectation of privacy that we used to take for granted but gradually lost. For them, it has always been this way. Today, Big Tech's "right to know" trumps our "right to privacy," an inversion of rights that we must now correct.
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