The fast paced growth of the Internet and advances in Internet technology permits the collection and transfer of personal data on a level never before seen. While privacy issues have existed well before the information technology revolution, technological advances have created a host of new issues.
Almost every company or Internet user that collects or stores information electronically needs to be concerned about how emerging laws regarding privacy affect their operations.
Privacy issues and concerns run a broad gamut in terms of their reach and impact. Businesses and third-party marketing agencies are collecting and aggregating personally identifiable information about individuals and their habits and activities through a variety of techniques unheard of just a few years ago.
Concern about privacy from government intrusion has led to debate about government surveillance of computers, electronic records, and personal online activity. Employer and employee privacy concerns include e-mail and Web activity monitoring and other workplace intrusions.
Throw into the mix the protection of children, the use of health and financial information, electronic record keeping, questions of anonymity, and international implications, and the far-reaching scope of privacy issues becomes even more apparent.
There are a number of legal and practical issues for Internet users to consider when dealing with privacy issues in the digital world. Some of those issues are:
- The manner in which information about individuals and their affairs is collected, stored, and transferred;
- The types of information collected by both traditional and Internet-based businesses
- The disclosure of how personal information is collected and used.