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Ethical Issues concerning Internet Privacy. Personal Info on Internet. Personal information on the Internet has become a hot commodity because it can be collected, exchanged, recombined with ease. Other ways to gather information Serial numbers embedded in computers or software

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personal info on internet
Personal Info on Internet
  • Personal information on the Internet has become a hot commodity because it can be collected, exchanged, recombined with ease.
  • Other ways to gather information
    • Serial numbers embedded in computers or software
    • Spyware, cookies
    • Ex. DoubleClick
  • Anonymity – protection from undesired attention
  • Solitude – lack of physical proximity to others
  • Secrecy involves limiting the dissemination of knowledge about oneself
  • Information privacy – concerns the collection, use, and dissemination of information about individuals
  • Restricted access – able to shield personal data from some while sharing it with others
  • Extrinsic loss of freedom - lack of privacy often makes individuals vulnerable to having their behavior controlled by others
  • Intrinsic loss of freedom – most people behave differently when they are being watched or monitored
personal information on the internet
Personal information on the Internet
  • Novice Internet users are amazed by the amount of personal information available online
  • Should be limits and conditions such as:
    • Exclude unique identifiers (SSN, birth dates, mothers’ maiden name)
    • Exclude unlisted phone numbers, reverse lookup
where does data come from
Where does data come from?
  • Shopping “Saver” cards (Kroger, Giant Eagle)
  • 2 phases of systematic loss of privacy
    • Database phase – technology made it possible to collect, store, retrieve large amounts of data
    • Network phase – consumers routinely communicate with vendors by e-mail, post messages to electronic bulletin boards on Internet while surfing and/ purchasing online products (monitored by prying eyes all over the network and collected without their knowledge)
  • Cookies – small data files written to the customer’s hard drive by the web site when the user visits that site with a browse; it stores customer’s visit info and when they come back it knows what you did before
  • 3rd party cookies – placed across the network so it tracks user movements
  • Clickstream data –shows users IP address, browser type, version, URLs visited
  • Data profiling – gathering and collating data about individuals to make decisions about individual’s habits
  • Spyware - small program usually installed without the users consent, tracks user’s surfing habits and sends to a third party
  • Why is this done? Target marketing and advertising (more predictable response)
protecting information
Protecting Information
  • Laws – not the only solution (Code, norms, market)
  • Opt-in Approach – companies must inform user about how data is being used and the user can proceed or not
  • 2004, Utah Spyware Control Act – requires all companies to disclose the changes made to the computer by their spyware and type of information transmitted to the server
  • Technology – anti-spyware
  • Some companies, realizing importance of privacy to customers, will enhance confidence and trust but will mean higher prices -> customers may be willing to pay
moral considerations
Moral Considerations
  • Databases of info is no different than gossip
  • Profiles used by insurance companies and other businesses before selling services to us
  • Technology is more powerful and intrusive than local gossip
  • Companies need to obtain permission before collecting data
  • Some think cookies are just an annoyance others look at as “Big Brother” watching
  • Most users have no idea what cookies do
us vs europe in privacy protection
US vs Europe in Privacy Protection
  • US believes best path is a split between market pressure and industry self-regulation
  • Europe treats privacy as a human right deserving full protection

In the United States

  • 1984 Cable Protection Act – prohibits cable TV companies to collect data about viewing habits
  • 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act – same with movie rental stores

1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act protects motor vehicle records and prohibits sale or release unless the drivers are provided the opportunity to opt out

  • 1998 Children's Online Privacy Act – forbids web sites from collecting information on children less than 13 unless they have parent consent
  • 2001 HIPPA protects medical privacy
privacy and internet architectures
Privacy and Internet Architectures
  • Cookies and spyware
  • Intel had a plan to put id numbers in computer chips of Pentium III
    • Reason - track computer equipment
    • FTC demanded Intel to recall the chip and be disabled unless the user turned it on
    • PC makers made a patch and turned the serial numbers back on
    • Serial numbers would enhance security but lose privacy
platform for privacy preferences project p3p
Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P)
  • Users warned collection will occur
  • Empowers users to make an informed choice
  • Encourages standardization and simplification of privacy policies
  • Has limitations – it can not ensure enforcement and if violated P3P has little recourse
  • Europe doesn’t rely on market place but relies on LAWS
privacy in the workplace
Privacy in the Workplace
  • Technology has facilitated greater control over employees
  • Heightened intrusiveness into private lives
  • Monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail and web-surfing habits
  • Employee Internet Management software – more than half of Fortune 500 companies have adopted some sort of EIM software
for or against monitoring
For or Against Monitoring
  • Should e-mail be private?
  • Web-surfing monitoring?
    • Hidden cameras
    • Clickstream data
    • Will it protect the employee from harm or breach or privacy?
  • Will moral diminish?
  • Decline in productivity? Web surfing vs. going outside to smoke
  • Can we find middle ground?