As we’ve written about several times before, privacy, identity theft, and ethical issues should be taken more seriously by people. Many of us are too trusting or careless in the way that we provide personal information — and this can come back to haunt us.
In the Sunday March 31 New York Times, two articles on this topic are worthwhile reading.
Somini Sengupta writes about “Letting Down Our Guard with Web Privacy“ and makes this observation: “Say you’ve come across a discount online retailer promising a steal on hand-stitched espadrilles [shoes] for spring. You start setting up an account by offering your E-mail address — but before you can finish, there’s a ping on your phone. A text message. You read it and respond, then return to the Web site, enter your birth date, click “F” for female, agree to the company’s terms of service, and carry on browsing. But wait: What did you just agree to? Did you mean to reveal information as vital as your date of birth and E-mail address?Most of us face such decisions daily. We are hurried and distracted and don’t pay close attention to what we are doing. Often, we turn over our data in exchange for a deal we can’t refuse.”
Image by Jason Lee for the New York Times
Natasha Singer writes about “An American Quilt of Privacy Laws, Incomplete and says that many “technology experts view the patchwork quilt of American privacy laws as more of a macramé arrangement — with serious gaps in consumer protection, particularly when it comes to data collection online. Congress should enact a baseline consumer privacy law, says Leslie Harris, the president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a public policy group that promotes Internet freedom. Many Americans are aware that stores, Web sites, apps, ad networks, loyalty card programs, and so on collect and analyze details about their purchases, activities and interests — online and off. Last year, both the United States and the European Union proposed to give their citizens greater control over such commercial data-mining. If the American side now appears to be losing the public relations battle, it may be because Europe has forged ahead with its project to modernize data protection. When officials of the United States and the European Union start work on a free trade agreement in the coming months, the trans-Atlantic privacy regulation divide is likely to be one of the sticking points, analysts say.”