Technology and Business Law Blog

Need for Global Privacy Standards

Most companies, organizations, websites ask you to enter personal information from social security number, annual income, marital status, number of children and their age in the household anytime you fill in an application or join any form of organization both offline and on-line. It is usually stated that this information provided will not be given out to third parties or used for advertising, but down the road these entities change their policies. Last month it came to light that Facebook was quietly working on a new advertising system that would allow the marketers to target the Facebook users with appropriate ads based on the personal information revealed about themselves. This would mean a huge untapped revenue stream for Facebook generated from ad promotion which is based on similar lines to Google’s Ad word methodology and having this ad targeting plan and the potential income and profit in mind Facebook declined an offer from Yahoo and Viacom last year to be bought out for $1 billion. Even when companies say that the information will be safeguarded, usually companies give in when pressurized by courts and department of justices.

Symantec Corporation reported that, the sale of stolen personal information online continues to grow. The United States is the top country for so-called underground economy servers, home to 64 percent of the computers known to Symantec to be places where thieves barter over the sale over verified credit card numbers, government-issued identification numbers and other data. Germany was second and Sweden ranked third.

Privacy is one of the major concerns for an on-line user and Google’s privacy counsel Peter Fleister said that privacy standards need to be harmonized worldwide, and a global standard needs to be established because of the Web’s global nature. Google is one company that did not agree to give in to the U.S. Department of Justice’s demand to search data where as most of it’s competitor’s gave in. Read here. But maybe Google should take the initiative on this since it has access to and tracks most on-line users information.

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September 19, 2007 - Posted by | Global privacy, Personal information

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