We must find a way to process the information that is constantly thrown at us. However, it is important to maintain the elements of our own information that donâ€™t need to be shared. Greater amounts of information for progress donâ€™t excuse those using the information from taking our identity or humanity. We shouldnâ€™t wait for a crisis to try to enact these changes. It is the duty of the consumer to demand change from the producer. The producerâ€™s best interest is to continue the business practices that have allowed them to succeed thus far. Therefore, a consumer revolution of sorts must occur to ensure that information is appropriately used. As Barbour notes, â€œRecognition of the inadequacy of old patterns plus the vision of positive alternatives could produce major changes,â€ without the need for a disaster like AOLâ€™s search leak (Zeller Jr.) to repeat itself. Therefore a delicate balance must be found between use and intent, with an eye out for preservation.
Even if the information is tacitly shared, the question of who owns the information must still be asked. Do I have a right to pull my records out of the databases of an online retailer with whom I no longer plan to do business? Is this true of other business contacts that we have in the physical world? I think the issue of ownership scares the general public more than the other issues because of the permanence involved. If I have privacy concerns, then I simply stop browsing the Internet. However, if anyone has ever saved a page with my information on it, I cannot force him or her to get rid of it. Furthermore, through simple technology based techniques, companies are now able to store information about oneâ€™s search, browsing, and shopping habits. This means that they can not only tailor their advertising towards products that you would more likely be interested in, but also hold information that the user feels should be kept secret. I have to carefully weigh the need to do business on the Internet versus my right to privacy. If businesses cannot guarantee my anonymity, then I am forced to take my privacy into my own hands. The lack of any kind of regulation in this area means that the companies only report to themselves. This responsibility is one that is bound to create a very grey area in terms of right and wrong. Maintaining the integrity of data while making a profit is simple for any company, but when economic tides turn, and the data is a valuable asset, what is to bar the company from freely using a userâ€™s information to earn a profit?