Privacy in the Internet Age

Where one day a person could be adequately assured that nobody would know anything about him, as a unique individual, beyond what limited information transferred in the form of rumors or self advertisement – we now have entire business founded on the concept of target advertising. Businesses collect information about individuals, through offers of “free” goods or through services such as social networking sites.
Some would call it an encroachment on privacy – after all, how many people actually read the numerous terms of service agreements to which they have “click to agree.” The typical user simply wants to get to his or her service or good, and often doesn’t even realize that doing so means that somebody else will be harvesting his/her personal information for private financial enterprise. Of course, the case of negligence simply doesn’t hold in a court of law and these various service providers are well within their right to collect, and often even to sell, the personal information of the members of their service.

The deteriorating nature of individual consumer privacy, due to the internet, has only been exacerbated. But it isn’t all bad for the end users. Sure, as a matter of principal, you may not want information sold pertaining to yourself – especially when you can’t have direct access to the financial motivation to giving it away. But in turn, users are often able to receive ads that they actually will consider, deals that they would’ve otherwise missed out on products that they’ve long wanted to purchase and services that they had considered signing up for but simply had forgotten. The nature of targeted advertising means also that it isn’t so obvious that the advertising is in fact what it is, advertising. And though in a way that may seem sinister, for the end user, the internet revolution of private information may well be beneficial in several respects.

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