How important is privacy in the on-line world and how can companies face the challenge of privacy violation?

Essay by alekotUniversity, Master'sC, June 2003

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Privacy can be broadly defined as "the right to be left alone" (Shank 1986). Although it is recognized as a basic right, it is not absolute, as it may be the case within some other basic right according to the Law. The duty to respect a persons' privacy allows exemptions; e.g. police or Government may have the right to obtain personal information from the citizens in order to ensure social order and harmony. The desire for privacy implies that it will be an issue if a person clearly expresses the desire to exercise the right. The question is how Marketing is related with the right of privacy? How far can companies, which gather information about customers needs wants and demands (Marketing's basic principle) operate in an acceptable or else ethically accepted way?

Marketing and Privacy are connected with a link, which is called information. Information is as important for the business and economic community, as the industry was in the previous years after the First World War.

In fact the whole period is called "Information Age". On the one hand, information is the starting point of Marketing. Without Knowing in depth customers conscious and unconscious needs and wants, Marketing cannot be established as a company's operating philosophy. On the other hand, people need their privacy to live free. Freedom is one of the highest values of individuals. It looks like two opposite powers have risen, which brought many debatable issues and ethical dilemmas, which will test our level of civilization. (Εδώ θα έπρεπε να είχες πει πρώτα τη διαφορά του online και off line privacy). One of those dilemmas is the question whether privacy is more important in the on-line rather than off-line world, and whether someone has different privacy protection needs on-line or off-line. Companies develop databases of...