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Personal Privacy on Internet: A Cyberspace Entitlement

Personal Privacy on the Internet: Should it be a Cyberspace Entitlement?

Jane signs onto the Internet, preparing for what most would deem a typical, innocuous Web browsing experience. Jane purchases some clothing for herself and her two- and five-year-old children on an up-scale department store’s Web site. She then follows with an extended review of a Web site featuring weight loss plans.

Although most would consider this browsing experience a litany of mundane transactions, a savvy direct marketer with the ability to covertly monitor these activities considers the information obtained priceless. As surprising as it may be to many Web surfers, assembling an alarmingly detailed profile of Jane, without her knowledge or consent, is quite possible with a single browsing activity such as the one previously outlined. Although this scenario requires some inferences, a marketing profile of Jane’s transactions might develop as follows: Jane is a mother with two young children, purchases some up-scale goods, and is seriously concerned about her weight and health. Based on her, a merchant or vendor might want to send Jane advertisements, e-mails, banner, advertisements, or pop-up advertisements that offer expensive home exercise equipment. The equipment would allow her to stay at home with her children, aid with her fitness goals, and be affordable based on her observed consumer spending pattern.

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