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Tattoos on Our Digital Skin: Anonymity, Privacy, and Accountability in Cyberspace
Hermes (2005)
  • Sam Grey, University of Victoria

While it may be oddly flattering that Chapters, Amazon or HMV knew you would like the new Johnny Cash compilation album, you may be less than thrilled to discover that they also knew about your prescription drug addiction, your crabs, your bankruptcy, or your having skipped out on the rent one month back in 1993. When you add the possibility of your favourite e-retailer sharing your personal information- for a profit- to the frank probability of their having known it in the first place, what you initially found flattering may begin to appear more offensive and ominous. Simply put, there is information people are not disposed to share, would not consent to disclose to any individual or organization, and would fight to retain or regain sole control over. People value their privacy. "Although the ideals of individual privacy have not changed over the last 200 years, the reality has" (Borella par. 38). Most people view the 'Net as private space, often a simple extension of the living room or study where they sit at their computer. Unfortunately, the internet is not only a thoroughly public space, but also public in a way not previously known and not yet fully understood. As a result, with the rise of information technology, anonymity has become strongly linked to privacy, and privacy, in turn, to power.

  • privacy,
  • internet security,
  • ethics of technology,
  • cyberethics
Publication Date
Citation Information
Sam Grey. "Tattoos on Our Digital Skin: Anonymity, Privacy, and Accountability in Cyberspace" Hermes Vol. VI (2005)
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