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Public and commercial data

Over the years, more and more people have growing concerns over the issue of privacy through the information that they give out of themselves through the various forms that they fill out when doing e-commerce transactions. Meanwhile, most people believe that the American government has the capability, capacity, and resources to merge public and commercial data in matching programs, in effect, identifying even the minutest details in their lives (McCrohan, 1989).

Almost every transaction that an individual makes is done electronically, and even when it is done manually, the information gathered would highly likely still be entered in a database for reference and faster process time. In effect, these personal and sensitive information are stored in a way that make it accessible to a wide group of people, including those who are not legally entitled to access such information, provided they have savvy, technical knowhow. These situations make people increasingly paranoid of potential identity thefts, fraudulent financial transactions, and even extortion or blackmail.

According to Harris poll, approximately 90% of Americans believe that advancement in technology is promising in regard to the quality of life but threatening the privacy, employment and children’s future (Brown, 2008). They have every reason to fear and worry about loss of privacy because it is true that we are seeing more and more inventions and technological advancements that are capable of such invasive nature that we only got to watch them in movies and read them in science fiction books many years before.

We watch on television or read in the newspaper about frauds and thefts using advanced technology, and we know for a fact that these things do happen quite often. We hear of cyber thieves who steal credit card and bank information, as well as people pretending to do legitimate businesses, but are out to deceive you in giving them this personal information. People are specifically sensitive about surveillance and identity theft.

However valid and reasonable these negative perception and fear about technology are, we cannot deny the fact that the general human population have come to a point when the use of Internet, as well as the ubiquitous mobile phones, have become so ingrained in our daily lives. People enjoy using them, and in so many ways, they are considered as essential tools in making lives easier and more efficient. It would seem that people fear the very things that they cannot live without.

Perhaps, these issues could be addressed if people have a better understanding of the relationship between technology and the situations that require its use (Palen & Dourish, 2003). As equally important, the scope and fundamental nature of protecting themselves against potential violators largely depend on their control of the environment. At the onset of information technology, this familiar control seems less effective or non-existent.

In the cyber world where there is no physical space, there are almost always a means of invading one’s territory. Drawing the line to protect your personal space and keeping away violators is simply not as effective in technology and cyberspace, as these two environments operate in contradicting principles. Fundamentally, the various arguments and issues on information and technological advancements center on the right to privacy. In many ways, these issues hold a great amount of truth and validity.

However, it is also true that although there are unacceptable ways of using information technology, it cannot be denied that technology is crucially important in providing global protection as well as continually improving quality of living, without it the world would not have a sufficient way of dealing with changes and demands that come with the passing of time. Privacy may be vigilantly protected by being consistently aware of everything that we put in the Internet, as whatever information someone puts in cyberspace will be for global consumption.

Technological advancement may co-exist with protection of privacy if the former is done in a way that does not interfere with a person’s basic right and to use other person’s information without his / her permission. The following benefits are worthwhile considerations and highly important reasons for the use of information and technology: (1) The need for preservation and protection on an individual and global scale; (2) Disclosure of certain information for a more convenient, faster, and efficient services, e.

g. banking, commerce, medicine, voting, schools, etc. ; (3) Prevention of crime on the streets as well as in private homes. There are real threats and crimes that come with information disclosure, such as, calls from telemarketers, spam emails, fraudulent transactions and identity theft, but these may be combated more effective by stringent laws and protective practices in private organizations, as well as government.

As time goes forward, so are the demands and needs of the human race. As time cannot be stopped, so are the changes and advancement in information and technology. Putting a stop to it or hindering its progress is tantamount to stopping the world from growing, and exposing it to danger, by not allowing it to flourish positively in order to act as a protective measure against man-made and natural threats. Privacy is a fundamental need, but so is protection and growth.

Privacy can be protected if everyone would carefully and vigilantly consider the potential threats before they put personal information in the seemingly harmless social networks, thereby, exposing themselves unnecessarily to bad elements. Bibliography Ashley, S. (2008, August 18). Digital Surveillance: Tools of the Spy Trade. Retrieved February 28, 2009, from www. sciam. com: http://www. sciam. com/article. cfm? id=digital-surveillance-tools-of-the-spy-trade Brown, P. (2008). Privacy in an Age of Terabytes and Terror.

Retrieved February 28, 2009, from www. sciam. com: http://www. sciam. com/article. cfm? id=privacy-in-an-age&print=true McCrohan, K. F. (1989). Information Technology, Privacy and the Public Good. American Marketing Association , pp. 265-278. Palen, L. , & Dourish, P. (2003, April 5-10). Unpacking “Privacy” for a Networked World. CHI . Solove, D. J. (2008, August 21). Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy. Retrieved February 28, 2009, from www. sciam. com: http://www. sciam. com/article. cfm? id=do-social-networks-bring&print=true

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