Privacy & Transparency
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own
governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government
without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a
tragedy or perhaps both.
(Fourth President of the United States)
The right to privacy is the power to keep secrets.
--Dale Carpenter, “Keeping Secrets,”
86 Minn. L. Rev
Privacy for Online Consumers
The authors of the next reading believe that each of the various players--Internet users,
businesses, government and privacy advocates—realize it’s in their own self-interest to want
better privacy protection online.
Privacy in the Digital Age: Work in Progress
The Expectation of Anonymity
The Internet generates an elaborate trail of data detailing every stop a person makes on the Web.
This data trail may be captured by the individual's employer if she logged on at work, and is
captured by the Web sites the individual visits. Transactional data, click stream data, or "mouse-
droppings," can provide a "profile" of an individual's online life.
Technologies such as "cookies,"
written directly onto your hard drive, enable Web sites to
surreptitiously collect information about your online activities and store it for future use.
Designed for the benign purpose of enabling Web sites to recognize a repeat visitor and respond
accordingly, cookies were quickly adopted by Web sites to facilitate the tracking of specific
individual's activities at Web sites for the purpose of customizing content and advertising….
Companies, such as Doubleclick, use this detailed transactional information to provide targeted
online advertising. Others, such as Adfinity, combine these "mouse-droppings" or "click-stream
data" with personal information collected from other sources into fully identifiable profiles of the
individual's online and offline behavior.
The increased data collection enabled by the Internet and electronic commerce are part of a
larger phenomena--the growing market in personal information. …
An individual's choice of payment mechanism impacts on her privacy. The amount of personal
information generated and collected varies from theoretically none in a cash transaction to
identity, item or service purchased, merchant, and date and time in a credit transaction. Similarly,
Nova Law Review
, Volume 23, Number 2, Winter 1999.