Assignment 2: Online Privacy
the professor’s name,
the course title,
July 29, 2012
Today in society, technology is advancing at previously unimaginable rates. For more and more Americans, internet access is seen as a necessity rather than a luxury. As the internet gains users, it also gains information. It is this gathering of data that has sparked a privacy powder keg. As private citizens, what rights to privacy do we have online? As web surfers, which of those rights do we waive? What responsibility, if any, does our government have in protecting the privacy of its citizens online? These questions are central to the debate over existing and potential legislation regarding regulation of the internet.
Let us begin by looking at how personal the information can be accessed online. The simplest way is through a search engine. Type a friend’s name into Google and see just how many links are provided. Within a few clicks, you can have their name, home address, and telephone number. Another common way is through a search of county records. Many jurisdictions publish court and arrest records online. There you can find a person’s date of birth. Finally, there’s social networking, a trend growing in popularity and use almost daily. Through services such as Skout, your current physical location can be accessed online. As you can see, with just a few keystrokes, a pretty clear and detailed picture can be painted of you.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to such private information being available online. For instance, digital copies of county records can be of great use in researching a possible real estate purchase. The ability to view titles and tax records via the internet can help title companies prepare and close transactions faster. Arrest records can also help to protect the public. Who wouldn’t want to know if their current love interest was a violent criminal?...