The website privacy.org is an excellent source of information and news
on this subject:
[ http://www.privacy.org/ ].
The following link is to a Hong Kong Digital 21 webpage that discusses
Personal Privacy on the internet:
[ http://www.info.gov.hk/digital21/eng/knowledge/privacy.html ].
Your Privacy Right include the right to confirm your data is held,
right of access, right of correction, right to be informed of use,
right to fair collection, right to give only necessary data, right to
consent to a change of use, right to openness and the right to
accuracy and security.
The next link is to an article from Electronic Designs website
entitled, Personal Privacy Issues Abound As The Internet Evolves:
[ http://www.elecdesign.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=4216 ].
Most companies collecting the information do a good job of protecting
the data and usually provide a very visible policy statement
clarifying what will be done with the data that you provide. The
positive side of data collection and management by these companies,
however, has become overshadowed by a number of overzealous and in
some cases, unscrupulous companies that either retarget your
information or peddle it to other companies. Early stages of this have
already appeared in many credit-card companies and even government
agencies, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, that frequently sell
or rent slices of their databases.
With the widespread use of the world wide web, all major companies and
deal with the legal ramifications of handling personal information of
clients, potential clients and business partners. The privacy policies
state explicitly what type of info they collect or do not collect or
might collect, and for what purposesindeed, note that searching for
personal information on Google takes you to many corporate privacy
policies on the first page of search results, including IBMs Privacy
Policy, which is the #1 search result returned (which you go to
directly if you click the Im Feeling Lucky Google button after
IBMs privacy practices on the web:
Note the following quote from their Personal Information section on
You may choose to give us personal information in a variety of
situations. For example, you may want to give us information, such as
your name and address or e-mail id, to correspond with you, to process
an order, or to provide you with a subscription. You may give us your
credit card details to buy something from us or a description of your
education and work experience in connection with a job opening at IBM
that you wish to be considered for.
This is a concise run-down on the majority of types of personal
information companies collect, and their purpose.
From the Using and Sharing Personal Information section from the
same IBM page:
The following paragraphs describe in more detail how IBM may use your
personal information and with whom we may share it. Depending on the
type of IBM Web site you are visiting, one or more of the paragraphs
may apply. For example, if you order a product from an IBM Web site,
your information will be handled as described in such paragraphs as
Fulfilling Your Transaction Request and Marketing Use.
I reiterate that you should read this page
[http://www.ibm.com/privacy/us/ ] in its entirety, as well as some
An excerpt from this Intel page:
We will only use your personal information in the ways specified when
it was collected. We will not subsequently change the way in which we
use your personal information, unless you consent to the new usage.
What is personal information as it relates to privacy? Personal
information is information relating to a specific individual which
distinguishes that individual from others. The most basic personal
information is name (last, first, and middle or middle initial),
street address (which includes street address, unit #, city, state,
country and zip or postal code with zip extension if applicable) (and
mailing address if it differs from the physical address), telephone
numbers (home and/or mobile, i.e. cellular) and e-mail address (or
addresses if the person has more than one). A persons citizenship,
marital status and number of children may also be related to this type
of personal identification. This basic information, if known, allows
that person to be contacted for whatever reason.
Beyond this basic level of personal information is a deeper, more
sensitive level relating financial histories. The lynchpin of this
information (in the U.S.) is the social security number (SSN), or
Taxpayer ID Number. Besides the SSN, other types of personal
information on this level include the persons credit card numbers,
and any other financial account numbers, such as bank account numbers.
Yet another level of personal information revolves around histories,
such as credit reports, consumer loan reports, mortgage records and
student loan history. Also, whether or not the person is a home-owner.
Past address histories (i.e., all addresses where the person lived for
the last 10 years) are also considered personal information. Also,
employment histories, (such as name of company, dates worked and
salary) are personal information.
Another area of personal information is that of criminal history and
driving (DMV) records. Records of any misdemeanors or felonies,
sometimes even traffic infractions or even if the person was ever
charged with such a crime, is information that is worth something to
someone at some time. DMV information such as what states the person
has or has had a driver license or ID in, whether or not their driver
license is valid, and their current and past vehicle registration
information, including make and model.
Also, educational background, such as degrees held or not held
(verification of degrees), specific schools attended, and even GPA is
another area of personal information.
The other major area of personal information is that of medical
history. Any diagnosed medical conditions (i.e. diabetes), whether the
person is a smoker, drug user or alcoholic is all medical information
that is typically verified by insurance companies.
Okay, weve covered the fundamental types of personal information. As
you can see, this basic information which many of us take for granted
is quite serious in terms of being able to paint a picture of a person
you dont even know. Now, lets move on to the purposes of defining
this information. Furthermore, most or all of this information is
available on the internet or WWW to someone. Different states have
different laws pertaining to different types of information, such as
DMV, criminal, educational, medical and financial, but there is always
someone who has legal access to it.
This information is what Internet Privacy measures, safeguards and
laws are meant to protect.
The following series of Google search restuls links will lead you to a
myriad of further resources on the subject of internet personal
Google search strategy:
internet personal privacy:
internet personal privacy issues:
internet personal privacy information:
Also, conduct all of the above searches substituting WWW for
As your Question was quite general, please do not hesitate to ask for
Clarification to this Answer if you would like more specific
information on any particular areas, or examples.
Good luck on your project!
Google Answers Researcher