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We might assume that nothing new could be said about the issue of privacy beyond the basic notion that it is something secluded from the inclusion of others a virtue and right that every citizen of a democratic society might possess However if that were actually the case then we would not see our culture involved in debates about the issues regarding privacy and anonymity as they relate to new information technologies The primary reason for such concerns is that information has become a commodity in what we have come to know as the information age With the advent of new technologies particularly that of the Internet this information can be sold and exchanged quite easily Before the use of widespread computer technologies our personal information had no real value beyond its immediate transaction When data and information was provided by a citizen or consumer it had no secondary reuse However due to advances in technology and data retrieval systems and transactions information has been given commercial value especially with regards to the issue of who owns and controls this information The information age has been a period that has allowed rights to privacy to beocme seriously jeopardized by new information technologies Richard A Spinello has defined two distinct phases to the systematic erosion of information privacy The first he calls the data base phase The emergence of sophisticated data base technology in the early eighties made it possible to store and retrieve large amounts of information efficiently and economically During this time considerable amounts of personal data were transferred to computerized records which have been stored on record Another implication in the invasion of privacy has been what is described as a network phase in which many individuals and organizations are relying heavily on digital networks such as the Internet to help conduct their personal business The Internet specifically has facilitated the integration of different databases and allowed data to become completely
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