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Analyzing Privacy and Security Issues in the Information Age

Analyzing Privacy and Security Issues in the Information Age

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Therefore education about international law and ethics, and education to develop an understanding of cultural differences will provide a positive attitude to promote the improvement of the privacy and security situation in the information age. Finally, there is a discussion about how to establish a viable security culture environment.
Therefore education about international law and ethics, and education to develop an understanding of cultural differences will provide a positive attitude to promote the improvement of the privacy and security situation in the information age. Finally, there is a discussion about how to establish a viable security culture environment.

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Published by: rahadian p. paramita on Apr 21, 2011
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Analyzing Privacy and Security Issues in the Information Age- an Ethical Perspective
JI-XUAN FENGSchool of Computing and Information ScienceZhejiang Wanli University8 South Qianhu Road, Ningbo, ZhejiangPRCJANET HUGHESSchool of ComputingUniversity of DundeeDundee DD1 4HN, ScotlandUK
: - Associated with expanding using ICT across the global, there is more and more concern aboutprivacy and security issues. Today, people find that their personal information is hard to protect. Results from aliterature review, from a survey and from case studies all indicate a clear solution: the key is people. It is peoplewho develop ICT, and people who decide the different ways that ICT is used. Therefore education aboutinternational law and ethics, and education to develop an understanding of cultural differences will provide apositive attitude to promote the improvement of the privacy and security situation in the information age.Finally, there is a discussion about how to establish a viable security culture environment.
- Security, Privacy, Law, Ethics, Core value, Global culture education
1 Introduction
 It is well known that we are living in a fast-growingInformation and Communication Technology (ICT)Age, that is to say, the information andcommunication technology - ICT is involved in ourlife every day, and it is expected that in future it willbe much more deeply blended with our life.Meanwhile, the Internet means we live in a globalvillage. Everyone could meet anyone who is onlineat anywhere, and at any time.
 If I really could lookout the electronic window of my living room in Boston and see the Alps, hear thecowbells, and smell the (digital) manure in summer,in a way I am very much in Switzerland.
This is what Dr. Nichloas Negroponte describesthe “place without space” of America in InformationAge. ICT, anyway, does not only play role indeveloped country. In China, for example, especiallyin the recent years, with the dramatic combination of “electronic digitalization” with various aspects of society, economy and culture, many projects havebeen put forward and implemented, such as “digitalareaand “digital city”. These information systems,aiming to realize e-government and e-commerce, hasestablished a number of urban informationinfrastructure featured with digitalization, theInternet, artificial intelligence and developed all-round and integrated information resources fromgovernments, enterprises and the society.Does ICT bring us all good effects, and alwayshave a positive side? Clearly, the answer is “No”. E-commerce has not only brought people lots of conviniences, but also possibilities of fraud. Here isan example:
 In January, 2006, phishers have crafted a URLon geocities that is nearly a version of home page of UTI bank and send it to customers via email withintentions, get personal information of more than100.000 customers of UTI.
Actually, there are much potential physical andmental health risks to human beings associated withthe expanding of use of ICT, including negativeeffects on our environment such as heavy metalcontamination caused by the manufacture of theICT-related products. Among the negative effectsare world-wide concerns about privacy issues also.However, there are notable differences betweenWestern culture and Chinese culture in many of these areas, such as “what is privacy” and whatreaction there is against invasion to personal privacy.Methods used in this study to investigate thesedifferences were a literature review, identification of 
WSEAS TRANSACTIONS onINFORMATION SCIENCE and APPLICATIONSJi-Xuan Feng, Janet HughesISSN: 1790-0832126Issue 1, Volume 6, January 2009
case studies, and a survey of university students.The aim was to identify ways to better preserve ourright to privacy in today’s ultra-modern world, aswell as to secure a safer life and promote ways of harmony.
2 Some Differences inUnderstanding of the Concept of ‘Privacy’
The concept of ‘privacy’ is dynamic, and haschanged as society has evolved. Privacy is alsointerpreted differently in different cultures.
Historical differences
The term ‘privacy’ changes as the times we live inchange, and such transformations will continue, asthe term ‘privacy’ had become “informationallyenriched” by computer technology [1]. In the earlytwentieth century in China there was almost no hometelephone number, no credit card, no personal socialsecurity number, and of course no informationsystem (IS). Compared to today, the meaning of privacy was rather narrow. Currently, data such asyour credit card password, email account password,fingerprint, digital photos, cell-phone number, andeven your CV document are judged to be items thatshould be private. The concept of privacy hasbecome more complicated and has broadened.Westerner describes privacy as “the claim of individuals, groups or institutions to determine forthemselves when, how, and to what extentinformation about them is communicated to others”[2]. In Western, privacy has been considered as oneof the most important needs of people. “Withoutprivacy, we lose our very integrity as persons.”(Charles Fried, 1968).Clearly the increasing development of ICT as acommunication mode therefore is a factor in theconcern about privacy: widespread use of ICT itself threatens personal information security. For instance,RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology,database data mining techniques, and wireless homenetworks result in significant potential risks thatsuch sensitive data might be leaked to others or tothe public. So we can say the more advanced ICTbecomes, the more risk there is to the safety of personal details.Scholars in China consider the personalinformation as data like name, date of birth,identification card number, Hu Kou, genetic data,fingerprint, marriage, family, education, profession,health, financial condition and whatever to identifythe person. Personal Information ProtectionLaw(Draft), which was started in 2005, has beensubmitted to the State Council for discussion. In thisdraft of law, personal information is defined as allinformation to identify one particular personincluding paper document, audio and vidio records,fingerprint or even archives. And even more, on the25th of August 2008, the 4th Conference of theStanding Committee of the 11th National People’sCongress (NPC) deliberated on The 7th Amendmentto the PRC Criminal Law (draft). The Draft is thefirst time a proposal for providing protection of personal information by imposing criminal chargesfor violations on such information was put forward.
2.2 Cultural differences
Mirroring historical differences in the understandingof privacy is the fact that generations of youngpeople in different cultures hold different viewsabout the scope of privacy. The ETHICOMP surveyof professional practice [3] indicated that collegestudents in both the UK and China thought that theprivacy of data was not very important. The Chineseperspective and understanding is that private data aredata that you do not wish others to know about, suchas information about your family’s property, lovelife, and health condition. However, in Westerncultures, there is a much larger range of items thatare held to be sensitive personal data, includingsalary, religion, the number of children in yourfamily, personal medical records, a woman’s age,marital status, sexual life, and political preference.Thus compared with Chinese culture, Westernculture is more sensitive about personal privacy andthe meaning of ‘privacy’ is considerably wider [4].In China, people are not particularly anxious aboutdiscussing topics such as “How much money do youearn”, “Have you married”, “What kind of illness doyou have”. Thus an information system that includespersonal data may be acceptable in one country, butit may be considered insecure in another country.Perceptions of security are affected by culturaldifferences and social environments.According to Moor’s theory of privacy [1],privacy is one expression of the core values of security, and therefore privacy must be maintainedand respected. Privacy corresponds to security: youwill feel safe living in a society in which yourprivacy is well preserved, and vice versa. Currentlywhen one talks about privacy and security, it isinformation system security that is considered,because in this Internet world, our personal data isstored in IS systems [5].
WSEAS TRANSACTIONS onINFORMATION SCIENCE and APPLICATIONSJi-Xuan Feng, Janet HughesISSN: 1790-0832127Issue 1, Volume 6, January 2009
3 Security of Private Data in theInformation age
Through nearly 20 years of effort, the Internet haslinked people across every corner across the world,meeting together on the Web anytime and anywhere.People can talk using web cameras, headphones, andchat rooms, and can send instant messages and e-mail each other. Personal information can be spreadeasily across the world via these web techniques. Itis extremely easy to copy information from the Weband paste it back to another website again, and soinformation can be broadcast immediately all overthe world. As a result, it can be very difficult tocontrol the dispersal of personal information in thisinformation age. Simultaneously, new ICTtechniques and tools have made personal data morevulnerable to privacy violation.A search of  www.bbc.co.uk  using the keywords“computer” and “privacy” identified 154 separateitems relating to disquiet about privacy breaches (29November 2008). However, unease about privacyviolations is less-and-less exclusively a Westernconcern: the same search of www.china.org.cn identified 44 separate items relating to disquiet aboutprivacy breaches. The same concerns exist in bothcultures: concern about pornography, lack of privacy,and lack of control. The People’s Daily reportedthat in 2000, at the 16
The belief that legislation can be a means of securing private data is evident from a series of reports in the Chinese press. The press has begun toreport the need for legislation to control Internet-based software that “might steal personalinformation or introduce viruses”. Recently,individuals and organisations have started to use thelaw to challenge bad behaviour. An examplereported by the Xinhua News Agency on October 18,2006 was of a grassroots “netizen” organisationchallenging a major corporation:World Computing Congressin Beijing, President Jiang Zemin warned that theInternet contains “some garbage like hacker, privacyviolating, misleading information and securityproblems.” He called upon the internationalcommunity hurry up the progress to launch aninternational Internet convention to better serve andsafeguard the Internet surfers.
The Beijing-based Anti-Hooligan SoftwareFederation began court proceedings against Yahoo!China in the Haidian District People's Court on Monday. Experts said the absence of legislation in preventing hooligan software has added to thedifficulties involved in fighting such cases.Generally, hooligan software includes such things asadverts (which you don't want to look at), spyware(which can steal your personal information),trackware (which can find out where you live and work) and malicious software such as pornographicinformation.
Similarly, in 2007 an individual universitystudent challenged Microsoft:
Peking University student Lu Feng believes that  Microsoft's newly launched "WGA Notification" program violates his safety of personal informationand his privacy. He decided to bring both Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd. before thecourt, and recently the First Intermediate People'sCourt of Beijing accepted this case.
(www.china.org.cn,September 12 2007)
 However, it appears that there is a long way to gobefore people feel secure about their private data. OnFebruary 20
“A surve
by the Shanghai University showed that 85 percent of the more than 100 primary schoolteachers polled and 73.4 percent of the 200 parentsexpressed anxiety about porn and violence on the Internet, but 56.8 percent of the teachers and 29.2 percent of the parents felt helpless in tackling the problem.”
2008 the
Xinhua News Agency r
eported:An article in the Beijing News, reported in ChinaDaily, March 18 2008, noted:
The rampant spreading of personal information hasleft us no privacy.”
and it called for legislation to protect personalinformation. The same concerns about security of personal information exist in the West, despitelegislation dating back at least 25 years to try toprovide privacy – whether personal, family, businessor professional. The existence of legislation doesnot prevent security breaches. In the UnitedKingdom, data privacy problems emerge regularlydespite the evolution of legislation from 1994 to thepresent. Problems arise from both private companiesand from public institutions. As examples, theInformation Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in theUnited Kingdom (i) in 2007 found 11 banks andother financial institutions in breach of the DataProtection Act after investigating complaintsconcerning the disposal of customer information [6],and (ii) in 2008 found the National Health Service inTayside and in Lanarkshire in breach of the DataProtection Act after investigating complaintsconcerning the disposal of patient information atStrathmartine Hospital in Dundee and Law Hospitalin Carluke. The ICO was alerted to both databreaches earlier this year when members of thepublic found confidential health records in buildingson the site of the former hospitals [7].That the law may not protect the security of personal data was evident in November 2008, when
WSEAS TRANSACTIONS onINFORMATION SCIENCE and APPLICATIONSJi-Xuan Feng, Janet HughesISSN: 1790-0832128Issue 1, Volume 6, January 2009

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