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Privacy Inthe 21st Century Essay

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Privacy is the ability of a person to control the availability of information about and exposure of him or her; it is an individual’s or group’s right to have freedom from unauthorized intrusions (Hacker, 2013). With so many social and media communication outlets, does privacy actually exist in the 21st century? Does the government have the right to dictate what is private or what is public?

As Americans in the 21st century, living amidst Facebook, Twitter, internet technology, satellite surveillance, GPS tracking and chips, the lack of privacy regarding the ability to provide acceptable and appropriate protection to individual identity and personal information have risen. Despite advancements in current security configuration, users of these products are still not receiving the privacy they deserve. Some views state that privacy is a right guaranteed to citizens by the United States Privacy Act of 1974, limiting the use of personal data by Federal agencies.

Education is a solution to the online social networkers and the dangers behind sharing our personal information with the public. According to Carolan (2012), Americans’ expectations of privacy in the 21st century is to be treated fairly under the right to privacy law; this law is made to protect their personal information such as social security numbers, credit card information, and medical information. Therefore, according the Fourth Amendment, Americans have the right to be protected under the United States Constitution (Zdziarski, 2013).

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Nonetheless, individuals find themselves in a society where the internet and online communication is taking over how they do business, privacy rights and communication, bringing into question their Fourth Amendment right to protect their privacy. Consequently, individuals have hopes that their rights will be protected under the Fourth Amendment in a day and time where smart phones and social networking are controlling the waves of communication and how Americans conduct day-to-day business (Carolan, 2012).

In today’s society of advanced technology, I Phones, tablets, insta-gram, social media, and online networking individuals have become almost totally dependent on these advanced communication technologies. They are constantly plugged-in for the duration of their day, to the point where doctors have come to term the behavior: nomophobia, the anxiety one feels when they do not have access to their cellular telephone; technoholism, an addiction to surfing the internet; and mousewrist, repetitive strain injury caused by excessive use of a computer mouse (Rauhofer, 2008).

This drastic change in how individuals communicate with one another has allowed others to have immediate access to vast amounts of personal information about an individual, their activities, opinions and habits which are being generated and stored in the databases for the purposes of selling, distributing and advertising. Database companies provide services to various organizations and companies in hopes of retrieving personal information about the cliental without their approval or knowledge, which is a direct violation of their right to privacy (Rauhofer, 2008).

There are several invasions of privacy and communication such as email addresses and information, global positioning satellites (GPS), and loyalty cards. Nonetheless, there are laws in place to combat the invasion of privacy such as the health information portability accountability act (HIPPA). In today’s society email is a fast and convenient way to communicate on the go. There is email at work, on mobile devices and in the home. In an article written by Samoriski & And, (1996), questions are still being raised on whether or not the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986 covers true privacy.

Gaps are still present in the current Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA), therefore leaving room for abusive electronic surveillance and monitoring, email and cell phone interception. Therefore, technology is creating new and unforeseen boundaries in the laws of privacy. Public and private privacy is almost nonexistent as it relates to online communication or transactions, and what little is available is being destroyed. For example, the IRS has recently ome under fire for spying on Americans’ email under the guise that using email surrenders one’s expectation of privacy. Emails were not originally designed to be shared or hacked into by individuals that were not authorized to send or receive the particular email; they are private. Nonetheless, it has been known that unauthorized users have invaded personal privacy laws and retrieved individual’s emails and information concerning their private life.

Simply because email exists in a public environment does not invalidate one’s expectation of privacy (Zdziarski, 2013). Laws have been established to protect the freedom of speech and print it does not specifically define the domain in which electronic communication occurs, which includes computers, telecommunication, software, data, and electronic networks (Samoriski & And, 1996). As technology is transformed, the advancement in options for preventing a person from getting lost and wandering without supervision has assisted care providers in assuring their safety.

Medical devices have made it possible for long-term care residents to be easily located. Medical technology has created a device that helps protect Alzheimer’s patients from wandering from the facility without medical personnel. This device is commonly called wanderguard; it will sound an alarm and notify staff that a patient is near the door or has left the building. This is another unique system and advancement in technology that stores an individual’s personal information (N. A, Wandering, 2007).

Additionally, the automotive industry has used technology to create a device that allows car owners to simply unlock and lock their car doors when approaching or standing next to the vehicle. The theory is it was a new safety feature that used GPS technology to track missing persons or allow easy and safe entry into the car. Although these methods are aids in locating a lost person, these devices contain specific private information that provides personal information and their identity (N. A. , Wandering, 2007).

Even though these devices have medical and safety benefits, it is another unique system which shows diminished privacy. Computer technology has advanced to the point of 1) storing bits of information about individuals over long periods of time, 2) separate databases of information that may contain pictures, tracing an individual’s physical location without their knowledge and increasing the power to use during surveillance situations. For example, social and professional networking cites, global positioning tracking systems are all used to provide information on individuals and their whereabouts.

Many people voluntarily provided specific information without knowing or understanding that they are giving out private information concerning themselves, family and friends. Computers have the ability to be tracked and computer hackers can break security codes and gain access to private and secret information that one may store on their computer’s hard drive (Rauhofer, 2008). Ever been to a grocery store, pharmacy chain or a retail outlet and upon completing the purchase transaction the question is posed “do you have your loyalty/bonus card? Many people are not aware that reward, bonus and discount cards are an intrusion of one’s privacy. These ‘rewards cards’ and ‘points cards’ have encrypted information on them about the individual card holder (Albrecht, n. d. ). Abuse of information is likely. According to Elgin Community Reward (2013) more than 60% of U. S. households said that loyalty card programs were important in their shopping decisions, but they did not know companies were using them and their information to increase sales and revenue. These cards are structured for marketing to encourage, reward and reveal the loyal buying behavior to the store of the card holder.

These cards looks like credit cards and/or have smaller versions to attach to key fobs. They contain pertinent information which the customer has furnished through the application process to identify types of merchandise purchased, the likes and dislikes of the consumer. While the Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures of government officials, The Health Information Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) attempts to protect individual private medical information and ensure that it will remain safe and secure in storage or transit via the internet (Malcolm, 2005).

According to Malcolm (2005) as technology moves into the twenty-second century and the distribution of information widens via the internet individuals information is going to become less private and more apt to become public (Malcolm, 2005). HIPAA of 1996 provides legal protection for a patient’s medical records and ways to file complaints. It is normally one of the first documents given to a patient completing paperwork. In a society where technology is the way of communication, doing business and functioning on a daily basis, privacy is not in the front of he technology movement. As Americans in the 21st century living amidst social webbing, internet technology, electronic communication, GPS tracking and laws of privacy, many issues still surface regarding the ability to provide acceptable and appropriate privacy. Despite technology advancements and current security configurations, online users still feel their personal data and privacy is vanishing. Privacy in the 21st Century is possible with the advancement of technology but at the hands of those who created technology for the consumer.

Privacy has taken a new meaning and redrawn the boundaries of the right to privacy from where they have been traditionally outlined. Politicians have helped reshaped society rather than society itself. Zdziarski (2013) suggest that when politicians and lawyers begin to control how society views privacy, it can only lead down the path to an unavoidable authoritarian government, with surveillance, constant monitoring and the mindset that Big Brother is always watching.

Many Americans cherish their privacy, and it is essential to a free country, so much that the framers of our Constitution made it an exclusive item in our Bill of Rights (Zdziarski, 2013). Individuals’ right to privacy should be protected. They have the right to use computers, email, social cites and handle day-to-day business without the fear of their privacy being invaded. As a country that holds democracy in high esteem, individuals cannot survive without any of their constitutional rights or freedoms: free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, or the right to protect ourselves from an overstepping government.

Privacy was never meant to be taken for granted and it was not meant to be taken away from Americans. In conclusion, privacy is almost impossible in the 21st century. Entities like credit reporting agencies, the internet, debt collectors, human services departments has given so many companies and individuals’ access to others’ information without questioning why it is being obtained or the purpose of housing one’s personal and private information.

Although computers, organizations and companies have passwords and protective policies in place to discourage and keep one’s personal information protected, a lot of Americans are finding out that their personal information, bank and credit accounts are being sold from one company to another, to obtain intelligent about who you are and your interests. In doing this, companies use this approach to deliver personal advertisement to you of offers, goods and services directly connected to your happiness. Payments are other common reasons for information being sold.

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