As the national and international community has increasingly
begun to depend on the Internet and Web for commerce and
information, protecting personal information has become a
Identity theft is a crime of growing proportions that attacks
privacy at its very core, by stealing identities.
• Employee’s Concern- be aware of why your company may
want to monitor employee computer use and what your privacy
• Consumer’s Concern - you should know why your company
needs to collect data on its customers
• Privacy is freedom from unauthorized intrusion.
• Privacy is often confused with confidentiality, but privacy is
broader because confidentiality involves protecting already
acquired information from outside intrusion.
• Privacy usually falls under the broader aegis of common law,
meaning that it is considered to be a given right that does not
need to be guaranteed by a constitution.
• Information technology has opened new avenues for
organizations to gather personal data on users. Tremendous
amounts of personal data can be stored on modern database
servers and then matched with data on other databases in a
matter of seconds to create a very complete picture of groups of
consumers or even of individual consumers.
C a t e g o r y D a t a b a s e
Government data Crime databases, immigration records, tax records,
records, welfare records, and armed forces records
Public data Marriage and divorce proceedings, bankruptcy filings,
voting registrations, property taxes, land titles, birth
and death records, occupational licenses, hunting and
fishing licenses, and court records
Company personnel files, including intelligence,
aptitude and personality tests, and supervisor
appraisals Political party and club membership lists
Medical data Hospital stay, doctor visit, and pharmacy records
Psychiatric and mental health records Insurance
records Workers' compensation records
Searchabilily Difficult Easy
Protection Little Much
Integration Very little Moderate
Privacy in the networked economy is an evolving issue, with at
least two sides to it.
On the one hand, no one wants to have his or her privacy
intruded upon without permission. On the other hand, a number
of studies have shown that implementing
stringent privacy restrictions would negatively affect both
individuals and the economy as a whole. Examples…
• Information enables retailers to direct their advertising to
likely customers through techniques as customer relationship
management (CRM). Such narrow advertising campaigns are
more cost effective than broad advertising campaigns, with the
customer receiving the benefits
of the cost savings.
• High mortgage rates and fewer loans might result if
lenders had less access to credit information. They
would have to increase their rates to account for failed
loans or refuse more loan applications.
• Without the free flow of information, many of the free
sites might have to charge for their services.
• e-commerce is predicted to grow rapidly over the next
few years. Business and industry constantly strive to create
Web sites that will attract customers and other stakeholders.
One technique involves mass customization (customizing the
Web site to each visitor by learning about the visitor's
They can do so by asking for information about the visitor or
by tracking the visitor's purchases and learning about his or
her buying habits. In either case, an organization must create
profiles of its Web customers.
• Transactional Data :- Data that are created when a transaction
takes place that requires the customer to reveal his or her
identity. This type of event usually involves face-to-face point-
of-sale, telephone, mail, or Web transactions as well as travel,
credit, or communication services.
In addition to transactional data generated by consumer
purchases, data are often collected on employees who handle
telephone purchases or deal with customer service questions. In
this practice, commonly referred to as electronic supervision or
computer monitoring, managers use software on the network
server to monitor the amount of work performed by employees
on networked computers in terms of entering data, making
reservations, dealing with customer questions, and so on.
• Web - Visit Data :- Web-visit data include data that are unique to the
Web, in that a transaction in the traditional sense of the word does not
have to occur. Any visit to a Web site generates a great deal of data
about the user's computer.
• Internet Communications Data :- This data includes e-mail messages,
conversations in chat rooms, postings to bulletin boards, and
messages to newsgroups. These data are unstructured because they
are not organized into database form.
All cultures and economies have developed rules
about whether certain acts are "good" or "bad,"
or "right" or "wrong."These rules, known as
ethics, are inherently value judgments that have
resulted from a consensus in society. Such rules
are often expressed or supported by laws.
1. What trade-offs are associated with more stringent
laws regarding personal privacy? Give an example.
2. What is spyware, and how is it often installed on a
3. What is a Web bug? How does it collect data?
4. Why do we say that Internet communications data
are unstructured? Does this statement mean they
cannot be searched or integrated with other data?