war on privacy is
intimately related to the dramatic advances in technology we’ve
seen in recent
years” (Gurfinkel, 2001, p. 5). Advocates of privacy warn that
of the disregard of the general populace and unrestricted technology
threatens individual privacy (
What technology are you referring to?
Consider the Internet and computers for one. “Each time you log in to the Internet you are involved in a much broader information exchange than most people realize” (Lyon, 2002, p. 345). According to a 1998 report by the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 98% of websites collect personal information (Masci, 1998). What do websites do with this information? What’s a good question as only 14% of the websites that do harvest information reveal the whom and why regarding the collection (Masci, 1998). Geocities was accused of just this by the FTC in 1998. In exchange for personal information, this company offered free emails. Geocities then sold this web data, the information amassed, without consent to advertisement companies (Masci, 1998).
fact, data sharing is still a rampant
practice among corporations (
What happens on the net doesn’t stay on the net. Run a quick search on your computer for cookies. Unless you cleaned them out recently, you probably found a lot. Cookies are “self-contained bits of computer code that are employed by websites as markers or tokens of identifying information” (Campbell & Carlson, p. 598, 2002). While these codes may be used to keep track of things such as personal preferences or items in an on-line shopping cart, they can also be used to stalk someone online. How would you like your on-line visits to websites tracked?
But databases of consumer information are not the only thing involved.
of 2001, the
government significantly expanded its authority in regards to
Investigation’s (FBI) Carnivore is one
such program that was
supported by the
Patriot Act. This powerful surveillance tool allowed the FBI to prowl
people’s communications on the Internet including transmissions
e-mails, chat rooms, and instant messages (
Well, at least you are safe at
Or are you?
Who said your employers
grant you privacy? We’ve all heard the little caveat during calls
call in-centers about the conversation being potentially monitored.
about monitoring their employees. “Eavesdropping has become
(Gumnpert & Drucker, 2001, p. 121). According to the American
Association, “seventy-eight percent of major
Feeling paranoid yet?
Well, if you
don’t, you may after
reading this. Have you ever been in front of a camera? Have you ever
front of a camera without knowing it? Surveillance cameras are
become prominent in publicly and privately owned spaces (Gumpert &
Government agencies in the
recognition falls under
Even the Super Bowl has made use of biometric technology to
the crowd as they passed through turnstiles. During the 2001 Super
fans were surveyed in the
What’s the latest?
By late this year, x-ray machines will be in use in airports. But these controversial machines are controversial because it will give screener’s a clear picture of what is underneath someone’s clothes (Frank, 2005). These “machines bounce low-radiation X-rays off a person's skin to produce photo-like computer images of metal, plastic and organic materials hidden under clothes” (Frank, 2005). While this may be a valuable step in security, where does it leave privacy? Would you want someone seeing what’s under your clothes? Privacy advocates have termed these machines as a virtual strip search.
…And these were just some of the technologies that can affect privacy.