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Digitally Nude: A Look At Online Privacy

2108 words - 9 pages

The popular debate question over which came first, the chicken or the egg, has never been decided. There are some very good reasons for both sides: The chicken needs the egg to be born while the egg needs the chicken to be laid. Both are capable of surviving without the other although it is tough to decide which would be the most important. The same relationship exists between the Internet and it’s consumers in the form of privacy versus information accessibility. While the concept of online privacy is desired by all computer users, it will never be realized because of the rapid evolution of Internet search tools and a growing abundance of online records.
The idea of privacy is ...view middle of the document...

The concept arose from the need to protect lines of communication between military bases in the event of a major war disruption, such as a nuclear attack. The program was designed to run with or without human interaction by storing information critical to wartime functions and granting access to terminals requesting the data. It would work by taking large quantities of data, compiling and compressing it, and then sending it as a complete package to the receiving computer. This allowed for multiple connections on a shared line to be made at the same time, making the computers an interconnected network. The network this created would eventually become referred to as the Internet (“Internet History”).
As technology increased, so did the ability to use the Internet outside the confines of military purposes. In 1991, the official unveiling of the World Wide Web ushered in a whole new era, for this once simple and purpose-built tool. Many different world networks now had an organized and uniform online forum to connect within. At the mere click of a button, a user could have access to information from around the world (“Internet Regulation”). The Internet, however, had one major flaw: There was not an easy way to find what you were looking for.
The solution for the ease of use dilemma came in the form of the Internet search engine. As John Battelle points out in his book The Search, a search engine will take a user input query and scan a selected set of documents or websites for matches to the query (33). Building upon concepts originally developed in the late 1960’s for digital information retrieval, the new search engines were only able to read documents that had been manually input to a centralized storage bank (33-34). This turned out to be tedious work and due to limited resources, the consumer would often not find the answer to their request. Sparked perhaps by the touch of immediate knowledge, search technology grew rapidly in the mid to late 90’s. The search tools soon began to automatically scan and store data from multiple sources throughout the World Wide Web. This provided a better platform in which to search from as queries were not only matched at a quicker rate, but moreover to accurate results. The most formidable of all the search companies started at this time is now the most widely utilized search tool on Earth, Google (“Search Engines”).
Google was founded in 1998 by young engineers, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In his book Googled, Ken Auletta states they had set out with a simple concept “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” (5). He then goes on to describe the company as more missionary oriented than financially driven. Their goal is to change the world and they have achieved it. Google not only serves as a platform for users to search from, it also acts as the largest online repository for the world’s most important information. Auletta points out that by early 2009, there where...

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