· Describe the vulnerability of personal information on Internet and people’s concern about it
The right to privacy-to various extents-is guaranteed by the law. The best-known legal basis for claims to privacy is contained in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from, “unreasonable searches and seizures…. Of person, house, papers, and effects” (Bill of Rights). After the advent of Computer and electronic communications, United States government had also announced Electronic Communication Privacy Act (1986). This law provides privacy protection to communication involving new forms of technology. In particular, this legislation clearly identifies electronic mail and makes it a Federal crime to intercept these computer-based transmissions (Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986).
Invasion of Privacy
Computers do not invade anybody’s privacy- people do. And because computer systems are designed to be user friendly, it may not be unauthorized people to get access to personal data. People must be able to protect their computer files and limit file access only to authorized users (Lawrence et al). Companies do not like the idea of giving privacy choices to their clients. They consider it a threat to their influence on customer’s data. Analyst of Meridien Research Inc., Dennis Behrman said, “you won't lose customers if you offer privacy options, but you may lose access to your ability to gain information" (Thibodeau).
On November 2001 Harris Interactive for Privacy and American Business had conducted a survey titled, “Privacy On and Off the Internet. What Consumers want”, on the privacy issues of online business. Results of the survey revealed that 75 percent of consumers are concerned about the safety of their privacy; 70 percent thought that their transactions are not safe; 69 percent are worried that hackers can steal their confidential information. Kristin Valente, Earnest & Young’s innovative assurance partner said, “One of the things that surprised me the most is the way consumers reacted to suspicion of mistreatment of personal information. It’s a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy with consumers. There was really very little that they indicated companies can do once you’ve lost their [consumers’] trust, although trust can be built with independent verification. But you have a long row to hoe to get back the trust and confidence of the consumer if you make a mistake” (Hollis).
Different companies use different privacy policies for their data and for their employees. Privacy.org had conducted a study and revealed that 14 million of employees are under complete surveillance of their companies while using Internet and email. Regional Manager of DSL, K. Rajendran said, “ Most IT companies have some way of monitoring net activities of employers, but no company will openly or tacitly admit it as they could be held guilty of violating privacy laws" (IT companies play Peeping Tom).
- Notice: Cisco informs the users who register with Cisco that what is the purpose of collecting their personal information. Personal information is only used by Cisco and Cisco third party service providers with the permission of the registered users
- How Cisco uses personal information: Cisco uses personal information of registered users to personalize the website for them, provide latest information about their required fields and products and to understand the personal needs of the user
- Information sharing and disclosure: personal information is shared with other third party service providers in order to provide the best results and offers to the registered user. This information sharing is done with the consent of the registered users
- Ability to Edit and Delete personal information: Registered users have all the rights to edit or delete their personal information
- Data Security: personal information of registered users is password protected. Cisco used all physical, electronic and managerial resources to protect the data provided by the user
- Third Party Sites: Cisco website has links of different third party websites; although these all companies are carefully chosen, but still Cisco is not responsible for their privacy practices (CISCO Systems)