This paper addresses the subject of privacy and the battle to define the boundaries of an individual’s right to privacy. The founding fathers of this nation fought long and hard for the right to live free. Their wishes for this country and its people are well documented in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. I sincerely doubt their sense of righteousness would have allowed them to sleep easy today knowing that the government they built now stands accused of violating their citizens’ rights to privacy through the use of legislation and technology on an almost daily basis.
To simply state that the government is the only potential threat to an individual right to privacy would be misleading. Commercial interests in the private industry are pushing harder and harder for increased access to personal information so that they can utilize the information gained to better market their products. Unfortunately, in some cases our personal information is the product they are marketing.
My research goal was primarily self-education. I wanted to learn more about how the computer age; particularly the Internet has affected my privacy. I’ve always considered myself a savvy web surfer – after all I’ve been actively using the Internet for years to perform school research, do online banking, make purchases, and maintain email accounts. I felt that I already knew a lot about this subject. I was half right. My research confirmed what I already knew about my privacy rights but also revealed to me the abundance of personal information up for grabs in cyber-space, the limitations of the protection actually available for my privacy, and the governmental tools that poise potential threats to everyone’s privacy.
I researched this subject using publications made available to me through printed materials at the public library, and through school library resources at DeVry and Webster University, the internet, and various electronic...