Internet data mining hastens the death of personal privacy

Thursday's Editorial - March 1, 2012


1.  What do you think about each of the following statements made by Mr. Eger?  Do you agree or disagree with each assertion?  Explain your answers.

  1. "Thanks to Google’s desire to satisfy advertiser demand for personal profiles for demographic data on each of us as individual consumers, we are at that crucial juncture in the history of the world where decisions have to made. We are at a point where some lines have to be drawn or give up forever the “right to be left alone,” as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis saw it, and to have any say about the collection or use of what we used to call “personal” information."
  2. "It is increasingly clear that in our zeal to promote the marvels of the Internet, we may be seriously eroding the fundamental rights [to privacy] of the average citizen and consumer."
  3. "Abusive scavenging for information also occurred, of course, before the widespread use of the Internet and the World Wide Web. What is different now is that information of this kind and much more is becoming increasingly available to commercial enterprises in their relentless search for markets, and to governments to satisfy their thirst for personal information, all at the risk of undermining our fundamental rights [to privacy]."

2.  Why do you think some people are concerned with this invasion of privacy, and some aren't?  Avoid insulting either point of view (don't just say a person is paranoid because he is concerned, or stupid because he is not concerned, depending on your position).  Make a thoughtful attempt to explain the reasons people have for each point of view.

3.  Are you concerned about the amount of personal information websites like Google and Facebook have about you (without your knowledge)?  Explain your answer.