Internet Privacy Essay

4967 words - 20 pages

Internet Privacy

Abstract
As more and more people continue to use the Internet and disclose their personal information,
privacy concerns are paramount. Marketing companies are fiercely competing for their share of the booming e-commerce industry estimated at 75 billion dollars in 2010. Government agencies after 9/11 are using personal communications such as e-mail and social networking sites to scrutinize and evaluate potential threats to the United States. Legislation including the Patriot Act has empowered a new generation of public officials with information gathering capabilities on demand. In some cases a court order is not needed to inspect all of a person’s electronic ...view middle of the document...

The blistering pace of technological advances provokes a need for life-long learning to stay abreast of ever-changing and sophisticated ways and means of consumer profiling, personal and governmental surveillance. The purpose of this paper is to inform and heighten awareness of Internet privacy or lack thereof, one possible consequence is an appreciation for better personal strategies for safeguarding private information.

Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………4
Social Implications…………………………………………………………………………………...6
Commercial Implications…………………………………………………………………………….7
Legal and Ethical Implications………………………………………………………………….......8
A Critical Perspective………………………………………………………………………………..12
Conclusion…………… …………………………………………………………………………….14
Appendix A……………………………………………………………………………………………16
Appendix B……………………………………………………………………………………………17
References……………………………………………………………………………………………19

Introduction

According to Lohr (2010) the Internet is like a stranger asking you for your name, e-mail address and your Social Security number. We would probably not give a stranger our personal information, yet many Internet websites do just that. These types of behaviors displayed by millions of Americans are not without consequences. As a result, a conventional definition of privacy has yet to establish coherence and continuity in the context of using the Internet. Dr. Harold Abelson, a computer science professor at M.I.T., states that an individual’s privacy in a modern context is not singular. That is to say, your personal information is fluid, easily accessible and publicly available. The consequences of media companies, corporations, individuals and government agencies collating and collecting our social signatures from online behaviors are significant.

Two researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University reported they could accurately predict the full nine digits of our Social Security numbers for five-million individuals born between 1989 and 2003. The data collected came from social networking sites and public information databases including the Social Security Master Death Index (Acquisti & Gross, 2009). The implications for increased identity theft and misuse of highly sensitive personal data are alarming and potentially exploitative. Dr. Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University who studies social networking online claims that using the Internet is analogous to behaving as if you were in a public place.

Schneier (2006) asserts that privacy is a fundamental human need. Most Americans assume, categorize and dichotomize the debate as security versus privacy in the post September 11 environment. The big picture that emerges involves our inherent liberties and who is controlling our...

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