Computers, Information Technology, the Internet, Ethics, Society and Human Values

Philip Pecorino, Ph.D.

Queensborough Community College,  CUNY

Chapter 6    Privacy


Most people value their privacy.  There are different types of privacy and the value may vary from person to person and from time to time but it still remains that most people do hold privacy to be important to them.  Computer technologies have in various ways compromised or invaded or removed various forms of privacy.  The invasion of or diminishment of privacy has been the result of actions  by governments, commercial enterprises, employers, criminals and even by individuals.  For an overview of privacy and the computer technologies READ:  Privacy and Technology   by Gary T. Marx.

Privacy has been compromised by actions taken in the private as well as public sphere.  Indeed the distinction between the two becomes more difficult to make and less significant to those being observed or whose information is being taken and shared and all without their direct knowledge and often without even their suspicion.

Murky Conceptual Waters: The Public and the Private  by Gary T. Marx In Ethics and Information Technology, 2001. Vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 157-169

For an experience of how much is already or can be already known about you in the commercial sphere go to this page and experience something not too far removed from where we are in 2006.

ACLU Surveillance Campaign  How bad can it get?  Almost there?

What should be the reasonable expectations of individuals to privacy?  How much privacy?  What types of privacy?  How much is needed by individuals?  How much invasion of privacy is needed by others?

Even as you read this page on a computer by means of the internet your computer is being accessed by others checking on what it is doing.

Demonstration of snooping by computer  The CDT Privacy Demonstration Page.

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Web Surfer's Caveat: These are class notes, intended to comment on readings and amplify class discussion. They should be read as such. They are not intended for publication or general distribution.                @copyright 2006 Philip A. Pecorino                       

Last updated 8-2006                                                              Return to Table of Contents