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Essay on The Decline of Privacy on the Internet

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The Decline of Privacy on the Internet



Within national and international laws, privacy has had a long history. It is a value that is inevitably subjective, due largely to its varying importance among cultures.1 Nonetheless, there does exist three, more or less universal, aspects of privacy: freedom from intrusion, control of information about oneself, and freedom from surveillance,2 which have been pushed to the vanguard by the Internet. Economic theory endorses that the cost of acquiring information guides behavior. As a result, easily accessible databases increase the chance that people will search for information that they would not otherwise seek because the cost would have been too high. Because there is such a low cost for obtaining the information, people now acquire information neither pertinent nor reliable on which they make decisions.3 Private and public organizations that participate in global trade receive and communicate personal data on employees and customers with the hope that partnering organizations are invoking the same privacy principles, which are defined as the regulation of the way organizations collect, store, manage, and disclose personal information.4 Operating as a management standard, rather than a technical standard, a privacy standard could measure for consumers, clients, competitors, and regulators the extent to which organizations “say what they do, do what they say, and are ready for their practices to be verified.”5 In these days of high-speed internet connections and an inclination towards a paperless society, it is impossible to eliminate or even limit the collection of personal information. As a result, balancing the privacy rights of the individual with the needs of the community to co...


... middle of paper ...


...ft of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computers and the Internet (Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2003) 36.

3Daniel Lin and Michael C. Loui, “Taking the Byte Out of Cookies: Privacy, Consent, and the Web,” Communications of the ACM (1998): 44.

4Bennett, 34.

5Bennett, 35.

6Lin, 42.

7Lin, 40.

8Lin, 44.

9Lin, 47.

10Lin, 44.

11Matthew K.O. Lee and Chen Wang and Huaiqing Wang, “Consumer Privacy Concerns about Internet Marketing,” Communications of the ACM 41(1998): 65.

12Lin, 46.

13Bennett, 36.

14Lin, 43.

15Lin, 48.

16Lin, 41.

17Lin, 39.

18Lin, 49.

19Lee, 65.

20Lee, 66.

21Lee, 67.

22Bennett, 35.

23Raymond Wacks, “Confronting Dogma: Privacy, Free Speech, and the Internet,” Communications of the ACM (2000): 200.

24Baase, 85.

25Baase, 86.

26Bennett, 38.

27Bennett, 36.

28Lee, 66.


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