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Lesson 6Privacy and confidentiality
ObjectiveDescribe e-commerce privacy and confidentiality issues.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Presently, no laws govern the privacy of individuals on the Internet. Public information is easily accessible. Companies can track, index and analyze individual purchases. Information about individuals, including email addresses, can then be traded digitally. The loss of privacy and confidentiality is a tradeoff we make for having access to more advanced technology.
Digital Information Disadvantages

Easy access to public information

Before the Internet was widely used, finding public information took time and effort. People had to go to a public library or government building to access this type of information. But this requisite is no longer true; all that is needed is a browser and a connection to the Internet.

Marketing and databases

Marketers can track almost anything you buy and technology enables them to track, index, and analyze your purchases. Given the enormous appetite of marketers and the equally enormous databases that hold consumer information, privacy is rapidly disappearing. As soon as you fill out a product registration card, the vendor has learned some information about you, and can then trade that information digitally.
Most consumers probably wouldn't mind data gathering and analysis if it were used only for targeted advertising. However, unrelated items correlated together can result in a misuse of sensitive information, leaving the consumer with a mailbox full of "junk," either paper or digital.

Two new laws intended to protect children from pornography and privacy violations on the Internet were part of a recent $500 billion federal spending bill. The privacy measures prevent Web sites from collecting information about children 13 and younger without a parent's verifiable permission. The pornography law requires commercial Web sites to block access to anyone 17 or younger to materials deemed "harmful to minors" by requiring all users to provide a credit card or personal ID number.
In the next lesson you will learn about some of the jurisdictional issues in electronic publishing.

Privacy Confidentiality - Exercise

Click the Exercise link below to complete an exercise on Internet privacy issues and privacy law.
Privacy Confidentiality - Exercise