Privacy and Computer Technology

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Privacy is a valuable interest and is now threatened more than ever by technological advances. Privacy is defined as the ability to control the collection, use, and dissemination of personal information (Fast Trac Course ). At one time people could once feel confident that what others may find out about them would be treated in a way that it would probably do any harm. Information technology has been beneficial for privacy. By having access to ATMs and online banking we rarely have to present ourselves to a teller. Online shopping offers similar benefits such as being able to shop without standing in long lines and being able to compare prices and research products before purchasing. However, since so much of what we do daily is done using a computer, it can pose a serious threat to privacy. This information can then be recreated to create detailed personal profiles that could not have transpired in pre-digital days. Furthermore, this information can be distributed far, wide, and immediately without our consent or even knowledge. Judicial remedies are unlikely to produce a satisfying or sensible balance between companies’ economic prerogatives and customers’ privacy interest. New technologies that has either unconsiously adopted or resourcefully applied privacy practices will continue to threaten personal privacy. Business will have to find ways to address this uneasiness. If companies remain complacent, underestimating the degree to which privacy matters to customers, harsh regulation may be waiting in the wings. The best way out is for businesses and customers to negotiate directly over where to draw the lines. (What is Privacy?)

There are many databases and Internet records that track or keep record of information about an individual’s financial and credit history, medical record, purchases and telephone calls. Most people do not know what information is stored about them or who has access to it. The ability for others to access and link the databases, with few controls on how they use, share, or exploit the information, makes individual control over information about oneself more difficult than ever before. For example, the caller Id was originally designed to allow you to screen your calls and protect from receiving unwanted calls from harassers, telemarketers, etc... In turn it involved privacy concerns for both the caller and the person called. Over the years, there has been a clash between privacy and advancing technologies, which can make a compelling argument for overriding the privacy intrusions.

The challenge of improving security while protecting privacy is called Real Id. The real ID act provides significant challenges. It was signed into law on May 11, 2005 (public law 109-13). After may 11, 2008 “A federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a dirvers license or identification card issued by a state to any persin unless the state is meeting the requirements”. The real ID act defines what information and features must appear on the card, what documentation must be presented before a card can be issued, what verification the state must do before a card can be issued, and security measures to prevent tampering counterfeiting and duplication of the card. The Real Id requires states to confirm the identities and documentation of applicants, Make drivers licence and ID cards extremely difficult to counterfiet, and to assure one driver one record so that you will be able to own only one licence which only go for people that has mutliple addresses . The Real Id Act is really the outgrowth of the 911 commision reccomended that the licence be improved and it should be a national standard. Represenative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) who was the cahir of the house judiciary committee said “American citizens have the right to know who is in their country, that people are who they say they are , and the name on a drivers licence is the holder’s real name, not som alias.”...
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