ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Topic 46

Rights of individuals with respect to the storage of personal data by Taro Kondo

Have you ever had times when you felt that you had some rights to possess something you are not willing to share with anybody else? These days most of the individuals who use computers feel this way, and some issues concerning that change of behavior are arising. As a simple example, the president of one company sets a policy that no staff members can store their personal data in their computers. The purpose of this action is to prevent the members from having data that have nothing to do with what they should be focusing on.

Those can act as distractors and members might not allocate their time efficiently. This may include pornography, and other files for entertainment. It's rare but there is another possibility, and that is the member has a data of confidential information shared only inside the company. The purpose of this is aiding other businesses. The idea of restriction does not sound bad for the company itself, but for the individuals it is certainly a negative effect. They might protest, arguing that since its their computers, the storing should be respected. In addition with that reason, points like ' relaxation factor during breaks' would probably be mentioned. Personal data has definite values for the individuals, and thus prohibiting them is too much pain. The final consequence of the dispute can vary from company to company.

When a person first sets his foot into his office, usually a document with list of rules is handed to him and he has to sign on it to show that he agrees to all the terms. If one of the rules stated on it was about the restriction, then it means the person violated it and therefore he must be penalized. If there was no clear rule, then the member can get away with it. But what about cases other than those occuring in companies? If we look at ones in a smaller scale, it is hard to determine the rights of keeping personal data. For example, when there is one computer at home and all the members of the family are using it, is it justifiable for each of them to have their own private data?

A possible situation may be that the parents are ordering children to not to do so, since they are worried that the children will save pornography etcetra, instead of what they consider is most important for them to do, like working on their homeworks. We should note that people who are strongly believing they have rights to save their personal materials tend to put passwords on them, so it makes it harder for others to see. This is a questioning matter too because they are creating a certain boundary. Afterall, everyone has his or her own space of privacy.

It is natural for a person to place his or her private things inside the computer, because there is often so much capacity. My insight is that to some extent, it is okay to put data. But suppose the case is that several people are sharing the computer and there is already enough information stored, then everybody should be careful with how much private stuff to save. In conlusion, there is no one right answer to resolve the issues. Abiding to a rule, if such exists, is a wise idea. Country law is very vague about these kind of matters. The most effective solution probably is to go through a negotiation and compare the level of drawbacks and benefits of having one's properties inside the machine.

moyer said...

I like how the writer starts off with a question. Other than data used for jobs, as one form of relaxation, possessing personal stuff too is certainly good. Having specific examples is another good point about this essay.

December 12, 2006 11:40 AM


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