Ryan Ingogia

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What is your view on Information Privacy and how it has evolved over the past 20 years?

Over the past 20 years the concept of information privacy has significantly changed from heavily guarded to freely shared.

Recently I was researching bar code scanners and came across a product from the 1990's that would allow you to scan a bar code (UPC) of a product and take you to a web page with more information. This product however went through a third party that would track your scans and use that information for advertising. This scanner did not last on the market due to peoples concern for the privacy of their information. In contrast, today people freely give this information out with little concern for their information. Just about every website you go to has an option to provide your personal information. Many people to not take the time to discover how this information is used and blindly click to agree with the terms. I would like to explore the change in mind set over time.

  • May 7 2012: Here is a different perspective on the question of privacy, from a certain well-known public figure -

    "Secrecy is the original sin. Fig leaf in the Garden of Eden. The basic crime against love... The purpose of life is to receive, synthesize and transmit energy. Communication fusion is the goal of life. Any star can tell you that. Communication is love. Secrecy, withholding the signal, hoarding, hiding, covering up the light is motivated by shame and fear.
    As so often happens, the right wing is half right for the wrong reasons. They say primly: if you have done nothing wrong, you have no fear of being bugged. Exactly. But the logic goes both ways. Then FBI files, CIA dossiers, White House conversations should be open to all. Let everything hang open. Let government be totally visible. The last, the very last people to hide their actions should be the police and the government."
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      May 8 2012: We're perhaps a little off the subject here, but I would suggest that your "public figure" add a couple of words, like so:
      "The purpose of life is to receive, synthesize and transmit energy. Communication fusion is the goal of life."

      Each of us naturally has the right to choose the purposes and goals of our own lives. The public figure's goals and purposes are valid for the public figure, not necessarily for others. Preaching to others what the purpose of their lives should be would sound pretty arrogant, whether you're the Pope, Jesus, or whoever .
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    Apr 30 2012: Let me start by saying I personally have a strong belief that my information should remain private. You will not find me on Facebook or Myspace and I am trying to find a viable alternative for Google.

    On to the topic at hand. My belief is that most people become happily ignorant to the lack of privacy on the internet in lue of receiving free services. When I was young I was told that there was no such thing as a free lunch and if something looks too good to be true it usually is. That being said, there are several online companies that have annual revenue's in the millions or even billlions, yet they charge nothing for their services. All they ask is that you tell them your name, your address, marital status, likes and dislikes, how many children you have, where you work, your political beliefs, what type of computer you are using, what software is installed, where you shop & what you buy, who your family & friends are plus more with the ability to share all of it with the rest of the world. In return, they may provide free information, phone service, online storage or other services. While that may seem like a lot of gathered information, it is all true and accurate based on the various terms of use policies of some of the most popular websites.

    Take some time and read Google's new Privacy Policy. Also consider who is tracking you next time you are surfing a website and see a Facebook link that your friend Joe likes that page, but you are not signed into Facebook or on a Facebook related site.

    People freely post pictures of their children or their vacation spots not to mention them conducting illegal activities and wonder how others know about it.

    So what has happened over the past 20 +/- years that people have stopped considering their personal information as private and started considering it as a virtual currency? Why are most people oblivious to this? Do you think the trend will change? If so what suggestions do you have?
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      Apr 30 2012: Trust is an issue here, on two levels.

      One relates to the online activities you describe, and relates to the extent people can trust the various service and application providers. Facebook is an interesting example. It;s not so long since Mark Zuckerberg was stating his belief in widespread sharing of data, taking no account of the implicit risk that such openness would make data available to criminals.

      The other level relates to the organisations, government and commercial, to which we provide data for very specific reasons such as healthcare, insurance, salary payment, having bank accounts, paying tax and so on. There have been sufficinet instances of data privacy breaches to indicate that many organisations lack the will and ability to safeguard the personal information they hold.

      Both the voluntary and neccessary provision of personal information puts people at risk, and the risk is increased by the web's ability to copy and share information. I suspect that we have yet to reach the critical mass of identity theft and other data-related crimes which will make people think that they are giving away something valuable every time they disclose personal data. And enforcement of data protection legislation has a long way to go to make organisations really want to develop and safeguard a reputation for being trusted custodians of personal data.
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          May 8 2012: Trust and government don't seem to go together in quite a few countries, and elected governments are transient, so I think that the concept of a responsible government as a solution to trust problems can only be a theoretical exercise. And even if a government came up with bombproof legislation, there's still the question of how, or whether, that legislation would be enforced over time.
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    May 2 2012: I personally had many concerns at first, specially on social media sites like Facebook and by the time I had to give up like many others.
    I think it has been proven that users tend to give up privacy for more free social services... Would that change in the future ? I don't see how!
    Would "data protection legislators" organizations or governments try to do something about it ?! Perhaps they are the most benefited of these type of data.