Human beings value their privacy and the protection of their personal sphere of life. They value some control over who knows what about them. They certainly do not want their personal information to be accessible to just anyone at any time. But recent advances in information technology threaten privacy and have reduced the amount of control over personal data and open up the possibility of a range of negative consequences as a result of access to personal data. In the second half of the 20th century data protection regimes have been put in place as a response to increasing levels of processing of personal data. The 21st century has become the century of big data and advanced information technology (e.g. forms of deep learning), the rise of big tech companies and the platform economy, which comes with the storage and processing of exabytes of data.
Constitutional vs. informational privacy
The first refers to the freedom to make one’s own decisions without interference by others in regard to matters seen as intimate and personal, such as the decision to use contraceptives or to have an abortion. The second is concerned with the interest of individuals in exercising control over access to information about themselves and is most often referred to as “informational privacy”. Think here, for instance, about information disclosed on Facebook or other social media. All too easily, such information might be beyond the control of the individual.
Statements about privacy can be either descriptive or normative, depending on whether they are used to describe the way people define situations and conditions of privacy and the way they value them, or are used to indicate that there ought to be constraints on the use of information or information processing. These conditions or constraints typically involve personal information regarding individuals, or ways of information processing that may affect individuals. Informational privacy in a normative sense refers typically to a non-absolute moral right of persons to have direct or indirect control over access to (1) information about oneself, (2) situations in which others could acquire information about oneself, and (3) technology that can be used to generate, process or disseminate information about oneself.
The impact of information technology on privacy
The debates about privacy are almost always revolving around new technology, ranging from genetics and the extensive study of bio-markers, brain imaging, drones, wearable sensors and sensor networks, social media, smart phones, closed circuit television, to government cybersecurity programs, direct marketing, surveillance, RFID tags, big data, head-mounted displays and search engines. The impact of some of these new technologies, with a particular focus on information technology, is discussed in this section.
Developments in information technology
“Information technology” refers to automated systems for storing, processing, and distributing information. Typically, this involves the use of computers and communication networks. The amount of information that can be stored or processed in an information system depends on the technology used. The capacity of the technology has increased rapidly over the past decades, in accordance with Moore’s law. This holds for storage capacity, processing capacity, and communication bandwidth. We are now capable of storing and processing data on the exabyte level. For illustration, to store 100 exabytes of data on 720 MB CD-ROM discs would require a stack of them that would almost reach the moon.
Beware of Suspicious Emails
Hackers may ask you to provide your personal information by replying email or install malware into your computer when you click on links embedded in the suspicious e-mail. After obtaining your personal information, hackers may do other harmful things by using your identify and your computing resourcees. For some cases, it could even cause you financial lose and legal responsibility.
Innovative Technologies in Healthcare, Beware of the Pitfalls
Published there has been an accelerated development and adoption of health information technology with varying degrees of evidence about the impact of health information technology on patient safety. This article is intended to review the current available scientific evidence on the impact of different health information technologies on improving patient safety outcomes. We conclude that health information technology improves patient’s safety by reducing medication errors, reducing adverse drug reactions, and improving compliance to practice guidelines. There should be no doubt that health information technology is an important tool for improving healthcare quality and safety. Healthcare organizations need to be selective in which technology to invest in, as literature shows that some technologies have limited evidence in improving patient safety outcomes.
Health information technology includes various technologies that span from simple charting, to more advanced decision support and integration with medical technology. Health information technology presents numerous opportunities for improving and transforming healthcare which includes; reducing human errors, improving clinical outcomes, facilitating care coordination, improving practice efficiencies, and tracking data over time. There has been an accelerated development and adoption of health information technology with varying degrees of evidence about the impact of health information technology on patient safety.
Computer on the brink? Careful who you contact to fix it! That’s because the FTC is warning of a surge in tech support scams, many of which can be difficult to spot.
In a recent widespread scam, a company that called itself Elite IT Partners Inc., purchased keywords on Google so they showed up in searches for password recovery assistance. Victims contacted the bogus company, which asked the assistance seekers to complete an online form to provide their contact information.
Scammers then reached out to the victims, asking for remote access to their computers. Once inside, they were able to scrape sensitive information off the victims’ computers. But they didn’t stop there; they also used phony evidence to convince many victims that their computers were in desperate need of repair that required pricey software. The scammers gladly accepted payment for this software, which of course they never provided. Many victims lost thousands of dollars to these scammers and had their information compromised as well.
Social media pose additional challenges. The question is not merely about the moral reasons for limiting access to information, it is also about the moral reasons for limiting the invitations to users to submit all kinds of personal information. Social network sites invite the user to generate more data, to increase the value of the site (“your profile is …% complete”). Users are tempted to exchange their personal data for the benefits of using services, and provide both this data and their attention as payment for the services. In addition, users may not even be aware of what information they are tempted to provide, as in the aforementioned case of the “like”-button on other sites. Merely limiting the access to personal information does not do justice to the issues here, and the more fundamental question lies in steering the users’ behaviour of sharing. When the service is free, the data is needed as a form of payment. Social media can be a great way to share information and to stay informed about what’s going on in the lives of your friends and family. But there’s a dark side, too.