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Chapter 27. Internet Law > Privacy and Security

Privacy and Security

With the advancement of technology comes greater efficiency. But it comes at a price—privacy and security. In the days before computerized commerce, trade was less efficient. Centralized inventory systems did not exist. Statistical analysis of buying trends was more primitive. Goods in transit could not be tracked with the precision that we have today. Even supermarket checkout was manual.

There was a time when everyone would cut coupons from the newspaper and bring them to the store. Groceries were individually priced. The checker would enter the price of each item individually. Today, the cashier scans items with a barcode reader. The register, in turn, notes the price of the product. In place of coupons, a discount card is scanned in a card reader. Items can be purchased in an all non-cash transaction (ATM or credit cards). All this information is tied together in one or more databases. The information about your buying habits is mined and used for market research purposes, direct marketing, or whatever other uses various companies can think of. For example, a person buying disposable diapers on a Friday may also buy beer, or peanut butter purchases might also often include bread and sandwich baggies.


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