The Value of Digital Privacy in an Information Technology Age Essay Sample

The Value of Digital Privacy in an Information Technology Age Pages
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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

2) 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 system is set up to receive automatic updates. Take regular back-ups of the information on your computer system and keep them in a separate place so that if you lose your computers you don’t lose the information. (Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Website, What Security Measures Should I take To Protect the Personal Data I Hold?)

4) Discuss a federal law that grants that federal government the legal right to make private information on U.S. citizens available to the public, and whether or not you agree with this law.

The federal law which has come along after 9/11 that makes private information on U.S. citizens public or that may be the closet is the United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to intercept and Obstruct terrorism Act of 2001 (USA Patriot Act) is an act of the U.S. Congress signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2001.

Essentially, it serves as a means of cutting down on limitations that law- enforcement groups were saddled with as they applied to searching telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records as it applies to individuals suspected of being involved in terrorism. Furthermore, it added onto the existing authority of the Secretary of Treasury in how they could regulate financial restrictions. Finally, it gave immigration authorities more power to detain and deport immigrants who were suspected of plotting of being part of terrorist activities. People who are in favor of the Patriot Act, like that it allows law-enforcement to use surveillance against suspected terrorists, conduct investigations without outside interference and the ability to search business records in the national security cases without a mountain of red tape.

The staunch opponents of the Act, however, hate that it gives the FBI seemingly unlimited power over “any tangible thing” that it absolves the authorities from having to have probable cause and that is expands the government’s right to search private property of owners without notice to the owner. (Opposing Views Website Patriot Act: Pros and Cons by Alex Groberman copyright May 30, 2011) I am opposed to the Patriot Act. The reason is it gives agencies such as the FBI and CIA way too much power to investigate whoever and wherever they see fit. These organizations over a period of time are known to have some form of corruption. If this kind of power gets in the wrong hands, the consequences would be devastating. Not just for the citizens, but the integrity of those same law-enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect us will be seriously compromised.

5)Determine whether there are “electronic privacy laws” that can prevent Others from having access to “private information” as well as how effective they are.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (1986) Congress passed the Electronic Privacy Act (ECA) to expand the scope of existing federal wiretap laws, such as the Wiretap Act, to include protection for electronic communications. ECPA expanded the privacy protections of the Wiretap Act in five significant ways:

1) ECPA broadened the scope of privileged communications to include all forms of electronic transmissions, including video, text, audio, and data. 2) ECPA eliminated the requirement that communications be transmitted via common carrier to receive legal protection. 3) ECPA maintained restrictions on the interception messages in transmission and adds a prohibition on access to stored electronic communications. 4) ECPA responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Smith v. Maryland (June 1979) that telephone toll records are not private and restricts law-enforcement access to transaction information pertaining to users of electronic communication services. 5) ECA broadened the reach of the Wiretap Act by restricting both government and private access to communications. (EPIC. Org (Electronic Privacy Information Center)


Search Cloud Computing by Margaret Rouse: Copyright Dec 2010

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Website, What Security Measures Should I take To Protect the Personal Data I Hold?

Opposing Views Website Patriot Act: Pros and Cons
By: Alex Groberman copyright May 30, 2011

EPIC. Org (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

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