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Security Versus Privacy

Laws have not been capable of determining how privacy will be achieved in any practical sense. The ECPA is one step in privacy rights. But as we have mentioned, it can do harm as well as do good when it comes to your personal information. You can't have privacy of data without security, but you can have security with no privacy. Privacy refers to data, consumer characteristics, preferences, and any information that needs to be kept private and confidential. Security, on the other hand, refers to access mechanisms and control of data and devices. Security applies to both client-side and server-side aspects of user information. To attain privacy, security measures must be taken by both the corporation and the user.

To keep your information out of the hands of malicious hackers and very determined marketers, a company can install very good security measures over data transactions. Such an example is when you are buying a product with your credit card; a company typically encrypts all the information and stores it on a secure server in its organization. The whole transaction process has good security; SSL connectivity on the Web site and data encryption on the server end is performed. Your credit card information is verified, and no one can capture your traffic en route to the company. This secure transaction means nothing to you if all your information is then sold to a marketing company. Recently, one company, eTour, which stated in its privacy policy that it “will not give out your name, residence address, or e-mail address to any third parties without your permission, for any reason, at any time, ever,” sold part of its customer database to Ask Jeeves. Even though the site had good security measures over consumer data, personal information still made its way to a marketing company. Your personal privacy has just been compromised even though great security features were used during the transaction.


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