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Discussion #1

1. The advertising industry has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past decade.  In the past, advertisers had to guess where they could reach potential customers on television, radio and print.  Now, much of the advertising budget is spent online where advertisers are able to reach specific individuals who are most likely to buy their advertiser’s product or service.  Through Google they know what you have searched for and deliver ads for that.  Amazon knows what you buy and suggests products based upon that.  Facebook know a great deal about your life through your posts, your friends, your messages as well as any web site you sign in using your Facebook credentials.  By matching email addresses, mobile phone numbers, IP addresses, advertisers can identify who you are and where you live.  Superimposed upon this system is a network of data brokers who buy and sell data from online companies and assemble disparate pieces of data into a profile of individuals that undoubtedly include you.  There is hardly any regulation of this data ecosystem.  For an example, read the New York Times article on data apps and the data they provide. 

Please discuss the following:

  • What is your reaction to the fact that your personal data is widely available and bought and sold?
  • Assuming that these practices are legal, do you believe that they are ethical or unethical?
  • What would you suggest to change this system if you believe that the practices are unethical?

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Theme 1:  Emerging Technology

Theme 2:  Data Protection

Theme 3:  Privacy

 

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights—not the law

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