January 29, 2013
Once upon a time long long ago when you were going on a date with someone you met at a party and you wanted to know a little bit more about that person, you would ask around. Maybe you would ask his friends or your friends what they knew about this guy or girl. But in today’s digital age, once you find out someone’s name, place of employment or a partial license plate the first thing to do is grab your optimal digital device to conduct a little thing I call (DPI). DPI is Digital Privacy Invasion. In this age of Information technology, finding out an array of information on virtually anyone is just a few clicks away from you. Below are three technologies that have emerged in recent years which allow an individual to research citizens’ private data. These are just a small sample of the different sites available online that have made the word digital privacy an elusive concept.
First, there is Google, a web search engine that enables the user find relevant information on the internet. Google has become so popular in locating information that it’s name has become synonymous with the term “look up”, research” or “check”. This is because before Google individual had to go to the library, police stations, or court houses to obtain information on someone’s background. Now with a few strokes you can find out personal information such as a person’s address, phone number, and their date of birth and the name of their closest friends in seconds. Another technology that allows an individual to research citizens’ private data is Facebook. Facebook allows users to view their “friends” date of birth, pictures, family information, place of employment and much more. Lastly, there is the Sex Offender registries, for instance, Maryland Sex offender registry. This site allows you to find sex offenders living near you and track sex offenders' movements by giving users their name, age, date of birth, offense and picture.
There are advantages and disadvantages of public access to private information, both for the researchers and those who are being “investigated”. One of the advantages for the researcher using Google is the ability to verify information. You can find out if someone has a criminal history, is in a relationship, or if they are associated with things you may not agree. For a researcher using Facebook, they are able to see if someone is in a relationship, there age and find elementary or high school friends. This can be beneficial in that it enables people to reconnect with friend or loved ones they have not seen in years. For the user who utilized the sex offenders registries the biggest advantage is being more informed as to where predators are located. For instance, if you have kids this is a great resource that gives you an added advantage in knowing your surroundings.
Some disadvantages for the researchers conducting “DPI” online are that you can obtain incorrect information while conducting Google searches. The is can be the case if you find incriminating evidence against and employee or someone you are dating and presenting it do them only to realize that you had the wrong “John Smith”. The invasion of someone’s privacy may not be welcomed and could cost you a valuable employee or loved one. For those being investigated there are also advantages and disadvantages for instance, one advantage may be if you are promoting yourself in any capacity. Then you would like for someone to look you up. In most cases the more information you make available the more you will seem popular. There are many wanna-be celebrities that get their names into blogs and develop sites to enhance their online presents. The other advantage may be if you are applying for a position in a company a great website and positive information online will go a long way to help you obtain that position. While