“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”1
So states Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, enacted in 1948 after 20 years of debate and refinement among member nations. Furthermore, the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights in 1988 made clear that human rights protections on the secrecy of communications broadly covers all forms of communications:
“Compliance with Article 17 requires that the integrity and confidentiality of correspondence should be guaranteed de jure and de facto. Correspondence should be delivered to the addressee without interception and without being opened or otherwise read. Surveillance, whether electronic or otherwise, interceptions of telephonic, telegraphic and other forms of communication, wire-tapping and recording of conversations should be prohibited.”2
The degree of privacy protection may differ among cultures and countries, and correspondence may encompass anything from a casual conversation among family members to extensive use of advanced telecommunications devices, but the principle remains the same: at a fundamental level, all human beings have a right to lawfully go about their ordinary business without interference or surveillance. Governments wishing to avoid United Nations sanctions may not make laws abridging these basic rights, and furthermore, must make it unlawful for other entities to do so as well. As the product of an international organization, the Declaration of Human Rights makes a strong case for a universal set of basic rights that follow from innate characteristics shared by all humans, in particular our sense of our own individual identities, and our ability to make choices based on intelligent reflection as opposed to instinctive reaction. In short, the Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the concept of “personhood”, and supports the right of each person to a private personal life. This paper addresses some of the issues surrounding the growing use of technology in our everyday lives, and it’s impact on personal privacy, particularly in the United States.
The Essay on Human as a Complex Unit of Life
The human body is a complex system of cells, most of which are grouped into organ systems that have specialized functions. These systems can best be understood in terms of the essential functions they serve: deriving energy from food, protection against injury, internal coordination, and reproduction. The continual need for energy engages the senses and skeletal muscles in obtaining food, the ...
What kind of information might we consider private? Is it our driver’s license number, social security number, Master Card and Visa numbers and ATM pin? Is it our mother’s maiden name, our grades in high school, our educational history, work history and volunteer activities? Is it the color of our eyes and hair, our height and weight and shoe size? Is it the caste we were born into, the tribe or clan our family identifies with, the region where we grew up and the dialect we speak? All of this, and more, is personal information, in that it serves to identify us as unique individuals.
personal information begins at the moment of birth, or even before. In a technologically advanced society such as ours, sonograms during mom’s pregnancy may be our very first “portraits”. Amniocentesis and other tools for evaluating the growth and development of the fetus may establish a genetic footprint before we are even born. The time of our birth is recorded, along with name, length, weight, parentage, blood type and other personal facts about us. A footprint may be recorded to further establish our identity. In the United States, we are assigned a social security number in our very first year when our parents file taxes, or apply for government aid. Basically, our identity is firmly established in various government archives by the time we reach our first birthday. As technology advances make it easier and cheaper to store and access data electronically, more and more of these archives are established and maintained in databases online, rather than in file folders in a physical file drawer somewhere in a bureaucratic basement.
The Essay on How To Write A Personal History
How to Write a Personal History Create a personal history time line. Start with the basic facts, including your name, where you grew up, how many siblings you have, your faith and ethnicity, and how old you were when you made a significant move or experienced memorable events . •Pinpoint interesting life themes to highlight your character. Achieve this by brainstorming either alone or with others ...
As we mature, other information is added to our basic birth history; most of us get a driver’s license, or a state identification card, as a basic tool for proving we are who we say we are. Most of us obtain one or more credit cards, so that we can establish a credit history, which will allow us later to quality for loans to purchase cars and houses, and other items that most of us normally can’t purchase with cash. We go to the doctor, and establish a medical history. We go to school and obtain degrees, or certificates of competence. We work for employers who then become a part of our employment history. We join clubs, volunteer for various organizations, buy goods online, voice our political opinions, receive traffic tickets, marry and have children, and ultimately, die. In the age of the internet, the history of all of these activities exists forever, in fragments of databases scattered throughout cyberspace, in terabit upon terabit of archived files, active or abandoned transaction records, and deliberate compilations of information (data mining) used by various organizations to create a profile of who we are or were. Not suprisingly, a Dell sponsored survey conducted in August 2000 by Harris Interactive, revealed that loss of personal privacy ranked as an issue of higher concern for Americans than the issues of crime, health care, or the environment 3
In the United States, each of us owns our personal information, to share or keep private as we see fit. Various government and goverment-sanctioned agencies have legal access to some of this information for legitimate and necessary reasons, in conjunction with strict laws and guidelines regulating how the information can be used and distributed, if at all. However, we are constantly bartering away our right to privacy in exchange for the rights and privileges associated with living full lives in our increasingly on-line communities. The inherent expectation in these transactions is that the personal information we provide is to be used only for the purpose stated, and not shared beyond the bounds of whatever agreement we enter into prior to providing the information. In most cases, our right to privacy is mandated by law, and we have avenues of redress to pursue when that right is violated.
The Essay on Information Superhighway Law Makers
If the goal of the Information Superhighway is to unite people, why is it that so far it has only acted as a dis unifying agent, creating debate wherever its name arises. The reason is, people are scared of it, and for good reasons as well as fictional. One of these "good" reasons would be personal privacy, a gap in the system sometimes not even denied by those that should be denying it. The ...
The right to privacy of personal information, however, is different from country to country. Even other democratic nations may have fewer laws protecting personal privacy, in the interests of domestic security and law enforcement, and many non-democratic nations have laws that effectively allow the government to control and limit the degree of technological communication allowed to ordinary citizens, and to closely monitor and archive approved transactions, including communications with citizens of other countries. Based on the United Nations declaration, The Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Data Flows of Personal Data, used by the European Union, sets out specific rules covering the handling of electronic data. These rules describe personal information as data that are afforded protection at every step from collection to storage and dissemination. The expression of data protection in various declarations and laws varies. All require that personal information must be obtained fairly and lawfully, and be
used only for the original specified purpose;
adequate, relevant and not excessive to purpose;
accurate and up to date;
accessible to the subject;
kept secure; and destroyed after its purpose is completed.4
Countries outside of the European Union may have similar laws, or they may have few or no laws governing information privacy.
Our personal information is of interest to a surprising number of people and organizations. Our own government, for instance, openly requires us to provide sensitive private information for census purposes, local, state and federal tax assessments, business, driving and professional licenses, eligibility for government support services, and a multitude of other activities that are of legitimate concern to particular government agencies. Additionally, our personal information may be legally tracked and recorded without our knowledge in cases of suspected criminal activities, or where national security may be concerned, particularly since the horrific events of 9/11. Commercial interests and businesses are intensely interested in our personal shopping habits, favorite TV shows, dining habits, weight concerns and mental health, among a myriad of other pieces of information we consider personal or protected. Not having the ability to compel us to reveal this information, we are typically enticed to voluntarily share it in exchange for discounts on goods and services, chances to win prizes, and free newsletters and informational bulletins. We share personal information with the clubs and organizations that we join, chat groups we belong to, the friends, relatives and business associates that we email, and anyone with sufficient skill and interest to hack into our computers, or the archives where this data is stored.
The Essay on Personal Information Privacy Mail Technology
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 ...
At the time of this paper (early 2004), we have global access to an unimaginable number of sites in almost every country in the world . We can shop in London or Paris, view travelogs in Munich, check out the menu of a five star restaurant in Venice, transact business in Hong Kong – the possibilities are endless. As the processing time for information exchange shrinks, and the number of users increases, our interface with other nations becomes more and more seamless. It becomes easy to forget that the laws that protect our privacy interests in the United States may not apply in the countries where we are socializing or doing business. Ignorance or carelessness in recognizing differences in protection of personal information in other countries where we may socialize or do business online may result in compromising our own financial privacy or personal identity, or causing serious physical, financial or political harm to our corespondent.
A study published by Human Rights International4 evaluates the privacy laws of 56 countries, and, surprisingly, finds that virtually all have some form of law protecting privacy of personal information. Not surprisingly, a large number of these same countries have weak enforcement of these laws. It’s unlikely, though not impossible, that your personal email to your cousin in Eastern Europe will end up in a foreign government’s database, but the likelihood goes up significantly if you or your cousin is active in some organization that is critical of your cousin’s government. There is a more significant risk that in a loosely controlled technological environment, your personal information can more easily be accessed through your email address and internet provider, potentially leading to identify theft and financial loss without redress.
The Essay on Internet And Privacy Personal Data
... be revealed by anymore interested. Besides the personal information gathered by companies in various ways, email privacy is also one of the controversial ... The control of one s personal data on net is not as easy as in real life. Technologies on net can make tracking ... a third party outside the company are prohibited. However, the law is enforced only for those emails outside the company, while ...
Is it possible for individuals to maintain any privacy in their personal lives, given the current state of communications technology? Well, yes and no. We do have the ability to exercise choice in how much of our business and personal communications we conduct online, and we have laws that protect the data we are legally obligated to share. Unfortunately, laws tend to be a remedy after the fact, and often cannot protect us from exploitation by technologically savvy hackers, or unscrupulous individuals with legitimate access to our personal information. So what are our choices?
It is still possible for individuals with a strong enough motivation to adopt an alias and simply drop off the technological radar, disappearing, Kazynski-like, into an anonymous (and lonely) existence based on cash transactions and face to face communications. While possibly the most secure way of maintaining personal privacy, the isolation of such a life makes it a non-option for the majority of us.
Other, less drastic options include strengthening privacy laws, supporting the activities of independent watchdog organizations, and making use of privacy enhancement technologies such as firewalls, encryption and third party independent validations when dealing with sensitive personal data. Common sense remains, as always, a pretty good defense; if we wouldn’t hand over our credit card to a stranger on the street, then we should be just as careful about when and how we transmit the number over the internet. And as many large corporations have recently discovered, ill-considered email has the same propensity for turning up in the wrong hands at inopportune moments as the hastily hand-scribbled memo of the past.
The Term Paper on Information Technology 8
... much (Spence, 2012). Privacy – Though information technology may have made communication ... Information technologies of various kinds, together with globalization, are powerfully affecting the range of employment options for individuals ... and Morrison, 1995). Today personal Computers, cell phones, fax ... and manipulate data. Several industries are associated with information technology, such ...
Ultimately, the right of the individual to privacy will always be in precarious balance with the interest of the government and other official agencies in maintaining a secure environment for all it’s citizens. On the one hand, advances in technology allow for more intrusions into personal privacy, as it becomes easier to link information from disparate sources into single, cross-referenced data banks that provide one-stop shopping for both legal and illegal snooping and profiling. Disappearing cyberspace borders allow information collected in data banks to be accessible from anywhere in the world for those with the skill and desire to steal personal information for their own use, and chances are, we might never know that our privacy has been invaded. New forms of communication and data management are often not covered by existing laws, which tend to be very specific in defining the types of technology covered.
On the other hand, those same technology advances also allow for more secure counter-measures to insure privacy in our personal lives, and each of us has an obligation to make educated use of the emerging tools available to us to protect our personal information online. In addition, we must support the creation and institutionalization of new privacy laws to address new technologies as they evolve, keeping the interests of national security in balance with individual right to privacy in our ordinary day to day lives. In the end, we must vigilantly defend our right to maintain the privacy of our personal information, supporting an open environment in which advances in technology can be understood and integrated into existing privacy policies as they occur, or we will see those rights slip away.
As a final observation, I fully endorse the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as setting forth the minimum standard of rights that we are morally entitled to as human beings. That said, I question whether privacy in a technological sense exists. In general, our online lives tend to be private only because we are basically anonymous to all but the friends, family and business contacts that we choose to associate with through the internet. Even if we are scrupulously careful about guarding our personal information through our own actions and safeguards, we can’t always be sure that the same precautions are taken by our corespondents. Unethical people may then obtain enough information to collect all the bits of data concerning us that exist in cyberspace, in effect recreating us online as surely as if we were physically cloned. The challenge is to counter each step in the evolution of privacy-invading technology with safeguards to preserve the personal information that makes us uniquely individual human beings, as opposed to some series of cyphers in a global databank