Has the Increased Proliferation of It in Our Society Changed the Way We View and Value Our Perceptions of Privacy?

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Executive Summary

Technological progression and the advent of the internet has raised new concerns about privacy. There is evidence to suggest people’s and Governments’ perceptions and values placed on privacy have changed. Whilst privacy expectations of individuals using older communication mediums remain strong, considerably less value is placed on both users rights to privacy and users own values and perceptions of privacy in relation to internet usage.

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Contents

1. Introduction_____________________ p1
2. Internet Privacy Concerns__________ p2
3. Invasions of Privacy_______________p4
4. Changes in Perceptions and Values___ p5
5. Conclusion______________________ p6
6. References______________________ p7
7.Appendices______________________ p8

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1.Introduction

Technology and its progression has helped define the twentieth century and continues to march forward unabated. The paradigm shift brought about by the invention of the integrated circuit and the modern computer has in many ways defined this exponential progression. As cost associated with computing power continues to decline in accordance with more’s law, and capabilities and efficiency grow, computers are becoming ever more ubiquitous in modern society. Not only is the traditional, personal computer a mainstay in the majority of homes in Australia (ABS, 2006), the rise in popularity of mobile computing devices in the last decade is obvious.

Communications technology, which has developed in parallel to computing technology, changes the paradigm once again. The so called information age has been used to describe what has resulted from the confluence of computing and communication technologies. The internet revolution is at the forefront of this shift towards a society that is more interconnected then at any point in history. The internet, like the computer itself, has become an integral part of most Australians’ lives. The Australian Bureau of Statistics released statistics for the 2004 - 05 period showing internet access was present in 56 percent of Australian households and is trending upwards from previous years (ABS, 2006).

The internet allows individuals to communicate with others in multiple ways with varying levels of privacy. Different forms of communication, such as the sharing of typed text, pictures and photos, audio and voice, videos or anything that can conceivably be digitally transmitted, has raised concerns in regards to privacy. This report will attempt to examine the concerns that have emerged with technological progress and the cultural impact technology has made on peoples perceptions and value placed of privacy. Privacy in association with the internet will be the main focus of investigation, given its conspicuous role in modern day privacy concerns.

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2.Internet Privacy Concerns

Concerns regarding the privacy of information of individuals using the internet has become a major issue of concern and debate in society. Several high profile cases have helped to elevate these concerns amongst the general population. Several recent cases involving the social networking website Facebook have gained much publicity, and raised concerns about internet privacy, particularly when it pertains to social networking websites. Social networking websites allow users to share personal information about their lives with other users for general socializing purposes, and to interact with these users. This information is either intended for exclusive access amongst contacts the user approves or for the public domain, and therefore accessible to anyone with internet access. Facebook as well as other popular competitors allow for shared information to remain beyond the access of the general public through the configuring of privacy settings.

One recent high profile case was that of a Sydney teenager, who was allegedly murdered by an individual she encountered on Facebook. Whilst in this particular case the...
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