Regulating Internet Privacy Regulation Has Remained Pinnacle Essay

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Regulating Internet Privacy

Privacy regulation has remained pinnacle of issues that got birth with internet. Every innovation in technology is at the expense of privacy; it is no more there as most of technicians believe. A layman using internet does not find how and when his personal information is can be traced by someone else; privacy at workplace that was once enjoyed by the employees is no more at one's disposal, and the never ending cookies and internet bugs allow heightened levels of internet surveillance. General public, heedlessly, isn't aware of such issues and is jolted only when such issues are raised on media. Marc Rotenberg tells us about its importance, "Privacy will be to the information economy of the next century what consumer protection and environmental concerns have been to the industrial society of the 20th century" (Spinello, 2003).

What is the extent of privacy erosion? Where is it necessary and where is it creating moral and legal issues? And what should decide the limit of privacy regulation? Let's analyze. By definition, privacy isn't a vague word and it encompasses elements like secrecy, anonymity and solitude, where as, secrecy stands for right to limit disclosure of information about oneself, anonymity refers to willingness to avoid recognition or fame and solitude stands for lack of physical proximity (Spinello, 2003).

And now that we know a simple definition of privacy, let's come to its detailed theories. Amongst the most popular theories of privacy, the two that received considerable attention are control theory and restricted access theory.

According to control theory, one is entitled to have privacy only and only if he has control over his information. Infringement of such privacy allows others to misuse information as a weapon against one's position as in many of the reported cases like that of insurance, job promotions or transfers, blackmailing to have illegal gain and so on. All this may deprive a person of perquisites that he may enjoy otherwise.
This concept is known as extrinsic loss of freedom where by we lose authority to decide and drive our life without interference of external factors. There is another concept that we call as intrinsic loss of privacy which is based on the fact that one behaves not the way he normally does when he is being observed or noticed (Spinello, 2003). One feels more conscious about his moves and plans and that makes it worrisome. This theory grants one the right to accept or deny other's access to his information. However, it has some flaws; practically one can never have complete control over every piece of his information, it simply isn't possible and theoretically, the state of privacy whereby one's information is known by everyone yet he is entitled to control whether or not to reveal his information, is senseless (Tavani, 2000).

Restricted access theory advises that one has privacy only and only if access to one's information is restricted in one way or the other. This theory clears ambiguity of control theory and defines zones or context where by restrictions are implemented accordingly. However this theory doesn't allow the control of a person to monitor privacy. According to this theory, more is the extent to which a person's information is restricted (has smaller zone), more is person regarded as having privacy (Tavani, 2000). None of the theories is found to give comprehensive knowledge of what privacy should include, but both when combined can give sound insight of privacy.

Various efforts have been made by service providers and law makers to abate the violation of privacy regulation. Moor's controlled or restricted theory gives sound foundation to the policy makers of privacy regulation bodies. First of all, the policy includes that, privacy encompasses two simple values,….....

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