Communications of the IIMA


The Internet plays a vital role in data collection, information creation, and business intelligence (BI). The nature of information collected on the Internet, and the degree to which such information is collected, both have ethical ramifications. What data can be collected is very different from what data should be collected. Disregarding the latter question can be more profitable, but doing so can often involve unethical practices and more importantly, compromise the privacy of individuals. It has become widely known that private enterprises collect all manner of (BI) data about individuals, causing ethical concerns. The ethics of privacy do not affect private enterprises alone. In recent times the development and implementation of public information systems by public agencies have also resulted privacy breaches, both overt and inadvertent. This is despite the fact that governments have a responsibility to protect private data from external parties. While some privacy laws have been enacted, paradoxically, other governmental legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has actually eased restrictions on the very information that the privacy laws have sought to protect. In this context, it is useful to compare US privacy regulations other countries, e.g. Canada. It is also useful to contrast federal regulations with those in States, e.g. Connecticut. Ethical concerns regarding private information have also spawned various “solutions” whose motives and success can be widely interpreted. It can be argued that the protection of privacy and private information are the responsibility of both private and public entities, who should take concrete steps to classify and protect private information