New Tech. Outdating Privacy Laws Essay, Research Paper
Recently some of my constitutes have expressed a concern with the way surveillance is being used in today s society. We were especially concerned with the way surveillance is violating a citizen s privacy. Since a very broad topic was brought to our attention we decided to focus the misuse of new technology. Some of my colleagues have brought to my attention some instances, which do not exclude anyone, form being violated. In the past, early invasion of privacy was treated as trespassing, ease dropping, or assaulting. Part of the reason for the society s delay in recognizing privacy as a fundamental right, is that today, most invasion of privacy involves technology. Modern technology, such as wire taps, microphones, video cameras, computers collecting, finding, and sorting information; instantaneous photos, newspapers, television, and now the internet have invaded areas of what was once private, personal and confidential issues. With the innovation of technology, today nothing is sacred. The best method to keep information confidential to disclose it to no one. This is too severe a method as it forces a person to recluse. This method may also deny a person medical care, among other unacceptable limitations. In this rapidly increasing information technology world, the word “privacy” has a different definition for each time it is used. We feel that since technology is evolving our regulations must counteract to protect privacy rights. We did research and came up with the following facts and ideas to help us set limits to protect citizen s privacy: In the case of Michael A. Smyth V. the Pillsbury Company, Mr. Smyth filed suit against his employer for invasion of his privacy. Mr. Smyth voluntary and willingly used the company e-mail system inappropriately and to cuss and threat the management. We agree with the judges decision that the defendants actions did not tortiously invade the plaintiff privacy. E-mail transmitted through the employer e-mail system has very limited privacy rights. This is company property and the Information contained is not private for one individual. Most people feel that they have the right to privacy whether they re on the job or at home. We have all been bothered from time to time, with tele-sales. How annoying it is to receive these phone calls, trying to sell us some product, or service. Junk mail also can touch on our nerves; (just how many card companies and refinancing institutions are there anyway?). If we subscribe to magazines, or if we buy products from mail order catalogs, our personal information is sold to hundreds of organizations for their use in direct-mail marketing. With the many consumers now using the Internet, some companies are finding ways to obtain our personal information, in the hopes of marketing their products. World Wide Web sites have the ability to track the Web sites that a user has visited, this way personal information can be gathered on such Things as a user s hobbies. This information is then sold to advertisers and can lead to receiving junk mail, electronically. In a 1990 Harris poll, nearly three out of every four Americans agreed that they have lost all control over how personal information about them is circulated and used by companies? (Bennet-Alexander, 1998. P.457).Federal Trade Commission began to hold hearings on the invasion of privacy, in regards to the Internet and protection for Web users. The FTC will decide if it will step in and oversee, or if it will allow vendors to self-regulate online commerce and commercial electronic mail. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (PEIC) states that privacy is the most important issue that aces the Federal Trade Commission. Many groups, including EPIC are pushing for uniform standards to protect the anonymity of Internet users. The vendors want to force online users to reveal information that would help in sales and marketing (Computer world, 6/9/97). The Internet industry is pushing to adopt its own standards before the government forces regulations upon them. Vendors such as Microsoft Corporation and Netscape Communications Corporation have plans aimed at setting privacy standards. Netscape has a proposal that would allow Web surfers to stop personal information from automatically being sent to Internet sites.
There has, over the years, been legislation regarding an Individual s privacy. In 1973, the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issued a code of Fair Information Practices as a set of rules for protecting personal privacy within government agencies. This served as a basis for the Privacy Act of 1994, the principle law governing privacy-protection actions within the federal government (Sean, p. 529). Privacy, in IT, is the term used to refer to how personal information is collected, used and protected. The enormous capabilities of IT to store and retrieve data have amplified the need for the protection of personal privacy. Telecommunications advances have also stirred debates. Caller ID and the location of an individual using a cellular phone have been questioned as an invasion of privacy (Sean, p. 528). The public should be aware that they should not give our personal information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.After our research we concluded that in order to protect privacy rights we must set a new definition to replace the old: Privacy is the interest that individuals have in sustaining a personal space free from interference by other people in the organization. Privacy is the expectation that confidential personal information disclosed in a Private manner will not be disclosed to a third party. Such disclosure could cause either embarrassment or emotional distress to a person of reasonable sensitivity. Information disclosed can be interpreted broadly to such facts as photographs, videotapes, tape recorders, or plain old ease. The right of privacy is restricted to individuals who are in a place where that person would reasonably expect to be private. There is no protection for information that is either a matter of public record, or the victim disclosed information in a public place. People are to be protected by privacy when they believe that the conversation is private and cannot be heard by others who are acting in a lawful manner (warrants or any process justifying the action legal are an exception). References Bennett-Alexander, Dawn D., & Pincus, Laura B. (1998). Employment Law ForBusiness. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.Senn, James A. (1995). Information Technology in Business Principles, Practices, andOpportunities. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Blodgett,Mindly (1997, June 9). Vendors scramble to head off FTC role in net privacy.