Privacy on the Internet: Who Has Your Personal Information?

Essay by juxelCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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Privacy on the Internet:

Who Has Your Personal Information?

Privacy has been a major concern for many years, but it was not until about ten years ago that people began to realize that their electronic privacy is being violated much more often than their physical privacy. In the past few months, almost all of the major news broadcasts such as 60 Minutes, Dateline, and 20/20 have done specials on identity theft. This has, undoubtedly, scared many people, but it has also put a new light on an issue that many people did not even realize existed. The Internet has many more benefits than shortfalls, but there are people who are just looking to make a quick buck and these are the people who are getting their hands on your personal information and using it for things that they should not be. On the Internet it is possible for users to give out personal information without even knowing that they have done so, and users commonly give out information to a website that they have never heard of, increasing the risks greatly.

Websites have been unrestrictedly collecting, using, and selling personal information of users on the Internet for years; it is time for users and legislators to take the necessary steps to protect personal information.

A recent study out of the University of Georgia Tech found that 92.8 percent of all websites surveyed collect some form of personal information (Culnan 6). The information that they collect ranges from a person?s name to his or her social security number (Culnan 11). Any website that collects information is supposed to have a privacy policy posted on its website to tell the user what information is being collected, why it is being collected, and how it will be used. Most reputable websites will have...