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Chapter 1. PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY IN TH... > We Need Healthy Skepticism and Infor...

We Need Healthy Skepticism and Informed Consent

As you can see from the examples above, the chance of your personal information being gathered and used by people you don't even know is high. Frequently, the choice of how that information is used is not under your control. The misuse of that information, or the use of it in ways that you do not believe benefits you, is more possible than ever before. And as more of our businesses go digital (whether they are connected to the Internet or not), the amount of information available to be harvested about you and your family increases every day.

We believe that personal information is very powerful. It can be used in ways that are very helpful to you or in ways that can injure you. But the choice of whom may gather information about you and the control of how that information is used should be yours. (Do you complete and return postal questionnaires about your personal preferences? Do you stop in the street and answer canvassers' questions? Do you want to do the same on the Internet?) As you see in this book, you have the right to make that choice. Certain information practices take that choice away from you, so you must learn to have a healthy skepticism when you are asked to fill out forms, for example. Likewise, you need to ask how the information you give at, say, a home show is used. Once information about you is in someone else's possession and control, you cannot easily recover it.


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