With the world's technologies shaping our lives, it is hard to have anonymity. It seems like every human being is constantly in contact with another. Whether it is texting on a cell phone during the last five minutes of class or sending comments back and forth via social networking groups, such as MySpace, people are always thirsting for communication. These lines of communication may seem like a personal connection between two or a more people, but these mediums are, in many cases, fair game to those who desire to get the information. From fraudsters to the American Government, what we think is secure and private is actually an open canvas to be tampered with and spread about the world of informational flow. There are a lot of topics which our privacy is being tampered with and we may not even know it. You will see there are many topics which you may not of even have heard about before. In the end you will see that we are going to be facing a world in which our privacy is dead and we must protect ourselves from becoming the next victim. The time is now for us to be educated on the different privacy issues we face today.

Privacy is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion b: freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one's right to privacy.


Biometris have been around longer than we might have thought. It is finger print recognition to access a personal computer or a voice activated code. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, companies looked for a secure way to prevent unauthorized access to bussinesses, private and government owned. The International Biometric Group, a New York City-based research and consulting firm showed increasingly lucrative projections for biometrics from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $5.7 billion in 2010( Even in smaller workplaces, employee punch cards have plagued management for years with a problem called "buddy-punching". With the installation of finger print biometric systems( punch card scams are a thing of the past.

Biometrics may also require an extensive list of items and information to help identify an individual. These gatekeeping machines need the person being identified to give DNA or present a finger/thumb print in an uncomfortable manner ( The treatment of humans as manuactured machines is a concern for the free society of today, but if humans are okay to be subjected to such treatments, then these measures are accepted.

Video Surveillance

Video Surveillance has significantly increased since September 11ths terrorist attacks. However, how would putting video cameras throughout public spaces stop a terrorist attack? In actuality the reason for the video cameras is to prevent crimes of a much smaller degree such as auto break-ins or robberies. Studies have shown that in Great Britain where video cameras have been largely installed in public spaces crime has not been reduced. Studies have also shown that the people who are monitoring these cameras become extremely tired and bored after as little as 20 minutes they’re attention to the cameras becomes extremely low and almost defeats the purpose of security watching the cameras entirely.

Another problem with surveillance systems is criminal abuse, institutional abuse, personal abuse, discriminatory abuse, discriminatory targeting, and voyeurism (studies show that 1 in 10 women are targeted for voyeuristic reasons). There is also a problem with the lack of controls on camera use. Due to the rapid speed of technology advancements it is difficult to keep checks and balances and often times when surveillance cameras are put into effect for certain purposes they tend to expand into other uses.

Video Surveillance cameras will eventually have a huge effect on the way we act in public. With the increasing knowledge of these cameras people will begin to be concerned about how officials view them. They will begin to think about the way they are dressed in public, what books and magazines they purchase and how these items may link them to terrorists or criminals. Video Surveillance is just the beginning of an age where our privacy and our democracy commence to dwindle.[1] [1]

Online Privacy and E-commerce

Online Privacy in E-commerce is a major issue we face today in the world. E-commerce has practically taken over as the new way to do business. Just about every company that offers a product in a store also offers that product online to purchase. With people becoming lazier and wanting things done faster in today’s world, it is easy to make a mistake when it comes to shopping online. When you are purchasing a product online it seems that they want every piece of information about you. By giving out you name, address, telephone number, along with your credit card number it makes you vulnerable for your information to get into the wrong hands.

Some of the problems that we see today are with internet scams such as phishing or emails being sold to third parties, which are becoming more common. People are just not being smart when it comes to e-commerce because with new technology comes new threats in this age. We as consumers expect our identity to be private and secure, but as you see now that is always not the case. There are many website out there such as,, that was created by the American Bar Association to help consumers order safely online when making a purchase. But not all shoppers take that extra step when it comes time to purchase.

Many sites have a yellow padlock symbol on the bottom of the screen to indicate to the customer that it is a secure or not secure website. If the yellow padlock is unlocked then that should be a red flag for you as a consumer not to buy from that site because it is unsecure. If the padlock is locked then you can buy with confidence knowing that your private information will be secured. Another way to tell if the website you are on is secure is if in the address bar an “s” appears right after the http:// in the web address. That is another sure way to tell if the website is secure or not. You should always read the website’s privacy and security policies before you purchase something from their site and always keep or print a copy of your receipt after you purchased a product that way you’ll always have proof of purchase.

Always check your credit card bills thoroughly every month for charges that you did not make. If you do find charges that were not made by you immediately contact the credit card company to handle the dispute and always have your receipt on hand to verify what, when, and from whom you purchase that product from. You should also order your credit report at lease once a year, if you shop online, so you can be one step ahead of anybody threatening your online privacy when it comes to e-commerce. Last, always remember when something seems too good to be true, it probably is, so take the steps necessary to protect yourself online.

Workplace Monitoring

Privacy in the workplace is a hot topic for employees and employers. Employees want to keep secrets from co-workers and employers for fear of losing a job. Employers want to keep company secrets to the company and it's benefactors. Employers may listen in on phone calls made by the employees. It is essential for employers to know if their employees are doing a good job. In most cases, employees can tell if they are being monitored on the phone, either by an operator or a tone. The information collected can be used to evaluate an employees work over a period of time.

If the work is being done on a computer, the employer may have the technology to view what is on your computer's desktop. Keystroke counting devices are also used for high database entry companies. These devices can tell how long you are at or have been at your computer. Keystroke counting can also tell if an employee has been at the computer for too long, preventing such ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other stress related illnesses.

Criminal Identity Theft

This is becoming a crime on the rise in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission reported that for the fourth year in a row, identity theft was at the top of the list for consumer complaints( Identity theft can happen when someone provides false information claiming to be the person that the information rightfully belongs to. In this instance, the identity theft victim is charged with whatever the thief gets charged with in that particular situation. The ID thief may be arrested for DUI and not appear for court, then the real owner of the identity gets a warrant for their arrest with no prior knowledge why(

In other cases, people have applied for jobs and have been denied because their social security number was already listed as working there( ChoicePoint,a private data collection firm, said the average victim of immigrant-based identity theft sees their Social Security number shared about 30 times. Credits get destroyed, social security and a persons life go down a slippery slope that can cost thousands to get out of. According to msnbc, government agencies are aware of many stolen social security numbers but do not tell the victims until it is too late. The agenies are not required to tell the victims.

‘There are strict limitations on disclosure. Can someone see if anyone else has reported earnings under their SSN? The answer would be no.’

— Mark Lassiter spokesman, Social Security Administration

Public Records on the Internet

Financial Privacy

Financial privacy is something that everybody needs to be educated on. With today’s world becoming more technologically advanced, personal checks and deposit slips are becoming more obsolete. According to Rob McGanns on, it says, Since 2002 online banking has increased 47%. Now, don’t you think that hackers and con-artist are already thinking abut how they are going to obtain your information without you knowingly? Hackers do this by security breaches or inside jobs where laptops are stolen and obtain information containing customer records. They also then have access to personal account numbers and funds.

As you can see your privacy is also in danger when it comes to your money. Financial privacy is a huge issue today as we face this communication age. According to Privacy Initiatives from, in 1999 Financial Modernization Actwhich is also known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The GLB Act was designed to protect consumers’ personal financial information held by financial institutions. ( The GLB requires three things from your financial institution that is your rights under this act. "First is your privacy policy, which requires your financial institution to tell you what kind of information they collect on you and how they use it. The second is the right to Opt – Out, which is when your financial institution must explain to you as the customer your ability to prevent the sale of your data to a third party. Last is safeguard, which requires your financial institution to develop policies to avoid unauthorized access to your personal financial data."[2]

Financial privacy is something that financial institutions will have to deal with for years coming. They will be spending millions in the years to come to improve technology and improve security when it comes to your privacy. It is easy to suggest how technology is growing that eventually all of our transactions will be done electronically someday. It’s going to be our job along with the financial institutions to help protect our privacy and provide quality service at the same time. [2]

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification tags are specially coded pieces of cloth, they can be no bigger then a tiny piece of glitter. An RFID can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification. RFID tags are transmitted through antennaes from several yards away.The tag's antenna picks up signals from an RFID reader or scanner and then returns the signal, usually with some additional data (like a unique serial number or other customized information). Radio Frequency Identification tags allow companies to track an individual product by providing a reading unique to that product. They are usful in improving shipping accuracy and cutting down on fraud or theft in transit.

These tags are the basis of over 6,000 patents filed for items such as wireless payments, cosmetics mixing, keyless entries, laundry tracking, patient monitoring in a hospital, the U.S. department of defense and much more.

There are several privacy issues that RFID tags bring up. Such as consumers not being aware that they are in the products that they purchase. We consumers have the right to take them out. It is also said that developers did not pay quite enough attention to security when making these. And it is only a matter of time before insurance companies start using RFID tags to deny coverage to people. It is also possible for criminals to purchase RFID readers for as little as $300.00 they would then be able to scan every item in a shopping bag, case, or pallat at just one glance.(Dr. Walters, 2007 RFID lecture)

Real ID

The REAL ID act was created in 2005 and it was an act for defense on the global war on terror. REAL ID is a nationwide effort intended to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud, and improve the accuracy and consistency of identification documents that the State governments issue. The September 11th Commission suggested that the U.S. upgrade its system for issuing identification documents that are secure. The Commission said “At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last chance to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether or not they are terrorists.” Particularly, the Commission advised the federal government to “set standards for the issuance of…sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” Congress’ response to this recommendation was passing the Real ID Act.

The REAL ID Act requires that a REAL ID driver’s license be used for “official purposes,” as defined by DHS. In the proposed rule, DHS is anticipating to set a limit on the official purposes of a REAL ID license to only those listed by Congress in the law: which are accessing a Federal facility; boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft; and entering nuclear power plants. DHS is also considering expanding these official purposes through future rulemakings to capitalize on the security benefits of REAL ID.

The privacy issues that have arisen from REAL ID are(1) the connectivity of the databases; (2) the protection of the personal information stored in the State databases; and (3) the protection of the personal information stored on machine readable technology on the DL/IDs [5]. DHS claims that their main concern is to protect the privacy of issued license holders. However, it appears that the privacy of the people is exactly what the government is willing to risk.


American Civil Liberties Union:What's Wrong With Public Video Surveillance? (2002, February 25). Retrieved November 17, 2007 from

Homeland Security; REAL ID Proposed Guidlines: Questions and Answers. (2007, March 1). Retrieved November 19, 2007 from RFID Tags. retrieved November 17, 2007 from

Walters, Dr. Powerpoint lecture. October 2, 2007. RFID Tags

Online Banking Increased 47 Percent Since 2002. (2005, February 9). Retrieved November 17, 2007 from

Facts for Business: In Breif: The Financial Privacy Requirements of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Retrieved November 19, 2007 from

Internet Banking: Future of Online Banking.Retrieved November 19, 2007 from

Privacy Rights Clearing House.

The Secret List of ID Theft Victims (2005, January 29)

General Identity Theft Statistics

Positive ID: All About Biometrics

Biometrics and Privacy

Americas Personal Security Inc.

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