Privacy on the Web: Is It a Losing Battle?

The internet was conceived and designed to securely convey military secrets. But it has since evolved into a treasure chest of information – unlocked and open to all. Now an inexpensive way to store loads of data, the internet is easily tapped by consumers, businesses and even thieves. Businesses track consumer concerns for marketing purposes, and some consumers are disturbed to learn just how much some businesses monitor thoughts or questions logged into search engines. Increasingly, consumers demand limits to online tracking of information and are cautious about prowling or posting any information the internet. To sustain the privilege of data access, companies must increase transparency about their efforts and hand the controls of what gets collected, analyzed and stored over to the consumer. Openness about the tracking tools will promote trust and long-term informed participation.Visit the site to buy a book online and your welcome page will include recommendations for other books you might enjoy, including the latest from your favorite authors, all based on your history of purchases. Most customers appreciate these suggestions, much the way they would recommendations by a local librarian.But, what if you visited an investment site, only to find advertising messages suggesting therapies for your recently diagnosed heart condition? Chances are that you would experience what Fran Maier calls the “creepiness” factor, a sense that someone has been snooping into a part of your life that should remain private.

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