ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Topic 52

Ethical issues related to the collection and use of personal data by Joseph

Most of us enjoy the rapid advancements in technology. It provides us great convenience and allows us to communicate globally. But we also have to agree that there should be a limit; we do not want people to have access to our everyday private lives. Friendships can be diminished, chances to get the job you wanted can be lost, and a small mistake can lead to worldwide embarrassment.

Collection of personal data also has positive effects. We do not want to be working together with someone who had a murdered someone as a kid and came out of jail still unstable. It can help in crime investigations, proving relationships between people and finding motives from past backgrounds. For all we know, the person living across from has had a past of robbing his neighbors. These information can help protect us and make us feel safe.

But there are also those that can humiliate and frustrate us. What we ate yesterday, where we live, if everyone could have access to these information, the world would be a scary place. A famous example is how Star Wars Kid got released into the Internet. A fat high school kid made a stupid mistake by taping himself using a golf club as a light saver and swinging it like in the Star Wars movies. He left it in the high school studio, and a classmate found it. He showed it to some of his friends and they thought it would be funny to release it on the Internet. It was estimated that over 900 million people viewed it, and he supposedly attempted suicide even though he won almost a million dollars from suing his classmates. If the Internet had not been this accessible and usable, his embarrassment could have been greatly reduced. If you had not seen this video check, "star wars kid" on google video.

Here is a real example that could happen to any of us. I go to a guidance councilor to ask about colleges and she realizes that my parents were divorced. The councilor researches my past and recommends I see a councilor about my parents. Whenever I ask her about information on colleges, she just ignores me and talks to me about the councilors. She also kept following me in the hallways and called my parents about me visiting a councilor. First of all, it is information I do not want others to know about. Second of all, because of that I cannot get information about my colleges. Third of all, it really isn’t any of her business. This is a small true example that occurs everyday, everywhere. Your job application could be rejected if the manager found out that you broke a window when you were a kid.

There are advantages and disadvantages of collecting personal data. We do not have to solve the problem by allowing if the advantages are greater or restricting if the disadvantages are greater. Instead we should limit some sort of information and allow only certain people to have access. We do not want everyone to know every little information about us but we also want to know every little information about everyone.


Blogger akirajackson said...

These days I hear a whole lot of problems concerning collections of personal data and how it is used illeagaly. Peoples personal data can get sold and used.

January 16, 2007 8:24 PM  

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