Cisco And Its Privacy Policy

Abstract
The desire of information sharing involves communication of electronic messages over a long distance and shaped the world into an information society. Today information is the largest export of most News services, banks, insurance companies, television stations etc. these all organizations collect data, process it into information, distribute it, and store it as a major part of their business. This freely transfer of information also highlighted the issue of privacy. Different companies have different privacy policies but this paper discusses how Cisco handles its privacy policy
Outline
             I.      Invasion of Privacy Policy
·         Describe the vulnerability of personal information on Internet and people’s concern about it
          II.      How Cisco handles Privacy Policy
·         Describe Privacy policy of Cisco

How Cisco Handles its Privacy Policy

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).
How CISCO Handles Privacy Policy?
Privacy policy of the company describes the measures it has taken to make the transactions secure. It has been estimated that almost 61% of the E-Commerce website claimed that they are secure sites and 44% of them supplied additional information on the type of security the system provided.
Cisco is continuously working with Online Privacy Alliance, a coalition of 85 companies and association for self-regulations for privacy policy, to make comprehensive and effective guideline for privacy policy (Cisco systems).
Cisco itself has a well-defined privacy policy, which ensures the confidentiality and integrity of customer’s confidential information. Cisco privacy policy comprised on the following points:
  • Information Collection: Cisco Company does not ask the persons, surfing their website, for their personal information. Although Cisco company log the IP address of the surfer to know the specific area of interest of the surfer in their website, but it does not relate it to any personal information, until the surfer registers to Cisco website and login to the website using his personal ID and password. Personal information of a surfer is stored only if he registers with Cisco under the acceptable privacy policy and user agreement
  • 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
  • Cookies and Tracking Technologies:  A cookie is a script often used by the commercial websites to collect surfer’s information but it only collects that information which is provided by the surfer. Cookie cannot read data from other websites or from the hard disk of the surfer. Cisco uses cookies at some parts of its website just to know the usefulness of the website and to know the effectiveness of the navigational structure of the website
  • 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)





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