Companies, Ethics, and Privacy of Personal Information Essay

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Introduction

Personal data is quickly becoming a commodity in today's high technology world. This information is used by banks, investment and brokerage companies, credit card merchants, government agencies (local, state and federal), and consumer product-based companies. Most people probably don't realize the amount of information that's shared between companies, or how often it's done. Many companies sell and share customer data to help sell products and find out what new products they should produce. Other uses include gathering information about inventory levels to help better determine what types of products are bought at which store, when and how often. This can be used for inventory and production, to make sure that the store (or
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For example, let's say that company A has a very formal set of policies and procedures for storing your data, where it can only be accessed through specific channels and authorization. On the other hand, there's company B, who doesn't have any formal security policy. They're willing to send your data to anyone who hands them a check, and don't even tell you what data was sent and to whom. Often, the only way people find out is when they discover fraudulent charges on their credit cards, mysterious access to their bank accounts, or people obtaining loans and other items in their name.

I feel that companies have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure to protect our data from being compromised, but also to inform us who they're sharing this information with and how it will be used, in addition to making sure that it's not used for any other purpose.

Different types of data that are commonly shared

I personally find the amount of information presently available to be somewhat staggering, if not downright scary. If someone managed to put a number of databases together, I would be scared to find out what would be discovered. Some common examples of company data that are often shared include the following.

Buying habits, from Safeway "club card" purchases, web sites like Amazon, etc.
Names, addresses, phone numbers
Driver's licenses and vehicle

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