Dr. Mark P. Glantz
Law, Ethics & Corp. Governance
July 28, 2012
The Value of Digital Privacy in an Information Technology Age
1. List and describe at least three (3) technologies that allow an individual to research citizen’s private data. Google.com is a technology which allows an individual to search for information on another person. If you are looking for information on someone, searching the web using Google is one of the best places to start. A person can find background information, phone numbers, addresses, maps and more. On the flip side, anyone can find the same information about you. Information is given by people opening up an account. Google.com allows you to see basic information such as name, address, phone, email or credit card number. Information is shared with companies, organizations, and individuals outside of Google with consent. Data searched on the web is stored to improve and maintain the security of their systems.
Zaba Search is another online search engine which allows people to research telephone numbers and addresses which are displayed for free. The site advertises information is revealed for free without having to register. The information displayed from Zaba Search is residential listings which can be found in phone directories. Premium searches are also available on the site however, once selected you are directed to other online services. The other online services offer searches by phone numbers, social security numbers and also offer background checks.
Intelius.com is one of the premium searches available through Zaba. This technology allows people to find family members, friends, classmates, military buddies and almost anyone living in the United States. It sells background information to anyone for a small investment. DateCheck is a site hosted by Intelius which stores reports including names, addresses, birth dates, court records, and cell phone numbers. People can access personal records by name, social security number or phone number through Intelius.
2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of public access to this information, both for the researchers and those who are being “investigated”.
The major advantage using technology to search for information is the speed and accessibility to the data. Digital information moves instantly from one person to another. Processing and retrieving data is accessible to everyone; it is no longer limited to a select number of people. While the information is not fool proof, a quick background check will provide information regarding the person you want to hire, date (or child is dating) or before engaging in business transactions. This information is helpful when considering the cost involved hiring or paying for these same services in the private sector, using technology is cost effective.
In contrast, the disadvantages using technology to search for information are that an e-governance system requires most citizens to have access to the internet. Hardware and connections are needed to access the government website. Public sectors need advanced servers and security systems to cope with the large amounts of information and cyber threats. This can be costly investment, especially for a small business owner. Cybercrime is a major drawback, personal identity, addresses, bank accounts and social security numbers are being stolen. Millions of households have become the victims of cybercrime over the past year.
Another disadvantage is the limited ability people have in preventing the information from entering the cyber community. Many people have limited knowledge concerning how their information is accessed or how it is being used. Government agencies make an effort to ensure the safety of civilian’s personal data; however it is not 100% successful.
3. Determine what measures citizens can take to...