Personally Identifiable Information

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Information gathering, through networking, social media, and both on and offline storage have made it easier to collect information about an individual than ever before, with many concerns having arisen over the years about privacy and the ability to protect that privacy. As debates over personally identifiable information continue, one cornerstone remains a constant, ethics. Ethics are defined as “the standard by which human actions can be judged right and wrong (Online, 2012)”, but even that can be debated when discussed within the realm of information technology. Have you ever been to an internet shopping site and “trusted” the secure connection? Essentially, you are entrusting an inanimate system developed by an individual or group of them that may or may not believe in an ethical code. Knowing this, could there be an adverse impact on you or someone you know through personally identifiable information?

Theft has been around since recorded history began. It is not new a new way of thinking, but the manner in which it can happen has drastically changed with the technological advancements of society. If someone stole something from you or your family it was a physical act, but in the world today you can have your entire life stolen and not even be in the same country. Finger prints, medical records, a social security number and even just a name are forms of personality identifiable information that can be stolen. While some forms of information alone are not enough to cause harm, some can be devastating and can often be found where you would least expect them. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information says “an individual’s SSN might be available in a public record maintained by a local court. (Security, 2012) ” The court is doing nothing wrong by maintaining this record, but it might be viewed that ethically holding it as a public record compromises that individual. While there...
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