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Chapter 1. PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY IN TH... > How Perceptions of Privacy Have Chan...

How Perceptions of Privacy Have Changed Since the Rise of the Internet

Ensuring privacy has been a concern long before the Internet became a viable means of popular communication. However, now that the Internet is a communication medium used by large numbers of people throughout the world, and personal information is both circulating through and stored by computers to an unprecedented degree, digital privacy has become one of the principal concerns of the information age. Once large quantities of information started being collected and stored, our right to privacy was being threatened at places like our local grocery stores, whether we recognized that or not. Those collections were not being made by the neighbors we trust, but by faceless and nameless people somewhere else.

In neighborhood pharmacies, the source of prescription drugs for most U.S. customers, our local pharmacist was likely to be able to warn us about mixing drugs because he had records of what we had been prescribed previously. We trusted our pharmacist not to share the information inappropriately—particularly, we did not want him to discuss our prescriptions with our neighbors or our relatives. Confidentiality was something we expected and received in our transactions.


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