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Chapter 5. Conflicting Goals and Requirements > Privacy Versus Merchandising

Privacy Versus Merchandising

Consumers would like to retain their privacy, releasing as little information as possible to sites on the Net, whereas commercial interests, beyond collecting information necessary to provide a service, frequently combine that information with other sources of data to build up very detailed pictures of their customers and sometimes resell that information to others. In addition, the very technologies that can be abused in profiling and exploiting consumers are necessary to build Web applications and make them easy to use.

The first problem is not the transfer of information alone, but how that information is used. A consumer will understand the necessity of entering a shipping address to order online, but that same consumer may be very unhappy if that address is sold to another organization for marketing purposes.


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