The Value of Digital Privacy in an Information Technology Age

Topics: USA PATRIOT Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Electronic Privacy Information Center Pages: 5 (1280 words) Published: January 27, 2013




1) List and describe at least three (3) technologies that allow an individual to research citizens’ private data.

The first technology that is looked into is cloud computing. Cloud computing in General is for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet. These services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a Service (IaaS), Platforn-as-a Service (Paas) and Software-as-a Service (SaaS). The name cloud computing was inspired by the cloud symbol that’s often used to represent the internet flowcharts and diagrams. (Search Cloud Computing by Margaret Rouse: Dec 2010)

A second form of technology that has been around is Facial Recognition technology. Facial recognition has been around for three decades. But mobile and social revolutions are rapidly driving the field forward, as digital photos proliferate, cloud computing powers accelerate and software capabilities advance. Tech giants including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo also employ facial recognition technology in photo, video and gaming products, as do a handful of lesser known mobile application companies. Facial recognition is a computer application for automatically identifying of verifying a person from digital image or a video frame from a video source. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected facial features rom the image and a facial database.

The third form of technology that is being used is called Detective Mode. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said “a software company called DesignWare sold a


Program that helped rent-to-own stores track and recover rented computers. The software contained a program known as “Detective Mode” that tracked renter locations and collected payments from them if the computer was not returned”, the FTC said. The program could log users key strokes capture screen shots and to take photographs using a computer’s webcam, the commission alleged. The spyware, which had been installed on about 420,000 computers worldwide, could collect a wide variety of sensitive data, including usernames and passwords, Social Security Numbers, medical records, private emails to doctors, back and credit card statements, and web cam pictures of children, partially undressed individuals and “intimate activities at home”, according to the FTC.

2) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of public access to this information, both for the researches and those who are being “investigated.”

The first advantage of using public access with this new technology is the uniqueness and it also the main characteristic, which allows biometrics technology to become more and more important in our lives. A chance of two users having the same identification in the biometrics security is nearly zero. Second, the highly secure way of identifying users make this technology less proven for users to share access to highly sensitive data. A noticeable disadvantage is if the biometrics system users fingerprints to identify its users and an accident causes the user to lose his/her finger then it can be a problem during the verification process.

3) Determine what measures citizens can take to protect private information or information they do not want to be disclosed.

The measures citizens could take to protect important information they do not want to be disclosed can be done by doing the following: 1) Install a firewall and virus checking on your computers. 2) Protect your computer by downloading the latest patches or security updates, which should cover vulnerabilities. 3) Encrypt any personal information held electronically that would cause damage or distress if it were stolen or lost. 4) Securely remove all personal information before disposing of old computers. 5) Make sure that your operating...
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