EN130.1.1 English Composition II
February 18, 2013
Data Collection and Individual Privacy
In deliberation of the topic of the use of individual information, the moral issue of importance is whether public or private sector entities have the right to create individual profiles of consumers and their obligation in protecting the consumer's privacy is in question. The exponential growth of the information age in particular the personal computer has created a situation where economies of the public and private sector are at odds with the privacy of the consumer or citizen. Should data collection agencies use or sell information collected about individuals?
In my deliberation of this topic, I feel the consumer/citizen should possess the right of determining whom and in what form can data collection be allowed. I will look at the positions of proponents and advocates alike in making my ethical decision. The reasoning for this decision would be that, by allowing the individual the right to decide public and private sector entities would be acting in the best interest of society in a whole. This decision will be examined using the Utilitarian school of thought in ethics.
John Stuart Mills defined the theory of Utilitarianism as "the happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct, is not the agent's own happiness, but that of all concerned. As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him/her to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator." In summation, the theory can be said to mean actions are to be deemed good or bad judgments based on their consequence. This consequence must provide the society or all individual involved the greatest amount of benefit. In turn this benefit must be the majority's benefit over the minorities.
In viewing the issue of should data collection agencies use or sell information collected about individuals,...
Cited: 1. Rachels, James. "The Element of Moral Philosophy". McGraw-Hill College. Third Edition. 1999.
2. "Non-personally-identifiable Information collected by DoubleClick." Double Click Incorporated. January 2000. http://www.doubleclick.net/company_info/about_doubleclick/privacy/non_identify.htm.
3. Mulligan, Deirdre. "Public Workshop on Online Profiling." Center for Democracy and Technology. 9 November 1999. http://www.cdt.org/privacy/testimony/991108profiling.shtml
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