INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGE
First & Last Name
Law, Ethics & Corp. Governance
May 5, 2013 There are numerous ways to research a citizens' private data. Over 94 Million people have their personal information exposed. From search engines, to social networking sites, companies and data brokers have compiled your information and will share or sell your personal information to anyone. These days the most common technology are mainly found on the internet although, in some cases you can use the yellow/white pages, an encyclopedia, or a public data base. However, the most common source is the World Wide Web. The main websites that come to mind are Google, Facebook, or Linked-In. Google alone provides endless options for researching a citizens’ private data. Facebook, although being created for mainly college students, has now spread worldwide and provides personal information for over 1 billion users. LinkedIn has more of a professional base and is tailored for business professionals and people looking to network for the benefit of their career. There are many advantages as well as disadvantages to the public access of a citizen’s private information. One would think that use of this information for public use would be against the law. However we will go more in depth on the Freedom of Information Act as well as the Privacy Act to see how they play a role in the release of a citizen’s private data.
Have you ever Goggle’d your name? Chances are if so some form of information about you came up, whether it was a picture of you, a website you frequently visit, or a link that if you click that takes you to a social network site that you are a member of. Within Google there are millions of other websites that can identify a person’s location, most recent address, telephone number and much, much more. I can recall a time in college when a friend was trying to locate her father, we got online and I simply typed his name into Google which lead me to multiple sites where I was able to gather small pieces of information about him that would ultimately tell us where he last resided as well as provided us a list of phone numbers that he had been associated with over the last 10 years. My friend tried the numbers and one of them actually worked; it was actually her father on the other end. Thinking of this story reminds me of the benefits digital information provides us as well as how convenient it is. The research took a few hours and a lot of determination but it shows what is possible with today’s technology.
Facebook is the second technology that comes to mind. It has over 1 billion users and still growing. A person’s Facebook page can tell you everything from when they were born to what they just ate for breakfast this morning and everything in between that time. With Facebook being so wide spread now and days chances are you can take a classmates name (from our online class) place it in the search bar and locate them on Facebook. You can find out where they reside, who they may be employed by, and their favorite band all in one glance. The difference between Facebook and Google is that the information posted on Facebook is provided by the user themselves. However Google can pull their information from another site, an online database, or any other online source without permission or consent from the user (i.e yellow/white pages).
LinkedIn is another social network that is tailored as an opportunity for business professionals to network. LinkedIn has a user base of more than 200 million in more than 200 countries. Of those users 21.4 million are located within the U.S. and they access their accounts at least once a month.
Earlier we saw how a college friend was able to benefit from the digital information as well as how convenient it is was, now shifting the focus to the disadvantages for both the researcher and those being investigated. The main