3. Privacy: Why worry? You can trust GOOGLE and other to do no harm

29 Nov

Pro corporations:
Major corporations such as Google, have an invested interest in keeping your personal information safe. Yes, they collect information to better know their customers, and are able to provide better personalized service with this data. Corporations who have suffered major breaches of security can suffer severe consequences, as customers will no longer do business with that corporation. In some cases, corporations could be so severely impacted they would be forced into bankruptcy. The results are serious, so major corporations are not going to play it fast and loose with your personal information. It would be bad business for them to do so. The PPEDA is an act in Canada which protects private information collected by organizations, and tasks organizations with only using this information for reasonable purposes. Google has even taken the step to clarify its user agreement with consumers so they can have a better understanding of what they are agreeing too.
Antitrust in privacy:
Just from the process of daily business, corporations are going to gather stacks of data on customers, this is a given. However, many consumers are essentially “tricked” into donating their private information to corporations through long winded, complicated, legal agreements. Consumers simply do not have the time, or the education to interpret the privacy agreements they are agreeing to when they use G-mail, Face book, or Flickr. The agreements are intentionally designed in the way described above to confuse users into giving up their data. As the Facebook IPO proves, Facebook and other social media sights sell all sorts of information about users to third parties, which is agreed upon unknowingly in the user contract. Users upload information and files such as photos intending to share them with friends, but unknowingly all this information can be used or sold by the social media site. The law in Canada has been slow to adapt, and the PPEDA still puts a heavy emphasis on the corporation to be responsible and police itself with consumer information.
My Stance:
Corporations have a lot on the line when it comes to customer privacy and protecting consumer information, however lax laws put too much onus on corporations to police themselves when it comes to customer privacy. Acts need to be strengthen to require corporations to make user agreements understandable for the common consumer, as well as provide harsh penalties for misuse of sensitive data. Consumers also must act out of self interest and protect their data, and not be so willing to “donate” their data to corporations. Many users simply put too much trust in corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Drop Box to do no wrong with their data, when it is obviously not the case.

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