By Brian Buschell, Maribel Carrillo, Kenneth Guindin, Glenn Henderson, and Kristen Zemanick


    Do you ever feel like someone’s eyes are on the back of your head? When it comes to privacy, there are many things that threaten you or put you in harm’s way. There are many ways that a person’s privacy can be violated, even to the point where a person’s identity can be taken from them. Phishing, spyware, social networking sites, photo and video sharing, electronic medical data, and cell phone usage are some of the ways that can endanger privacy. In this chapter, the objectives that will be covered in the next few sections are:

  • Definition of privacy
  • Types of privacy
  • Effects of new technology
  • How to protect yourself

What is Privacy?

    Privacy is the state of being free from unauthorized intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs. However, some people define privacy differently, depending on their beliefs and practices. Some are more open to sharing information about themselves, whereas others are more cautious about keeping their life their own. A Kansas State University student, Jeremy, gave his opinion of what privacy is, “it is space that I have, having something that is my own and that I don’t have to share”.

Types of Privacy

    There are four main, structural types of privacy. These types are personal, informational, organizational, and spiritual and intellectual privacy.


    What comes to mind when the phrase “personal privacy” is mentioned? A person’s belongings, the exposure of their body, and the physical space around them can all be of concern and protection to a person. Most people find value in their personal belongings, and treasure them. People have certain things they are willing to share, however, there are also possessions that are not welcomed to be searched through and access to these items is unwanted. For example, people keep their car and house doors locked for a reason. They have ownership of these items and do not want others intruding. According to the United States Fourth Amendment, “the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizers”, people have the right to their personal privacy. Next, a person’s physical appearance and exposure of their body to others can be an important privacy issue. This form of privacy can often be tied to the idea of personal modesty. It is for the simple reason of people wearing clothes. It is their body, and their physical appearance. Some will even go as far as to build up walls and fences to insure their personal privacy. Most people are not comfortable with sharing pictures or themselves to others or having medical decisions made for them. A person’s concern for their physical space around them can tie into this same idea of personal privacy. People greatly dislike the feeling of being intruded upon. Each person has their own “bubble” that they call their own required space, for some it may be small, but very large for others. It is something that should be respected by others. A good example of this desired privacy can be as simple as how far or away someone wants to sit by another person.


    Information privacy is also known as data privacy, ranging from health records, criminal justice electronic forms, to residence and geographic records. It mainly identifies privacy that exists wherever personally identifiable information is collected and stored. Many concerns arise from information privacy over the internet, medical privacy, financial privacy, and political privacy. Information privacy on the internet causes concerns to arise when it is questionable of what type of information one is able to share on the internet and who can access that information.

Who can access my information over the internet?

  • Search engines in the use of data mining
  • Stored emails that can be read by third parties
  • Stored information on websites can be identifying information and shared amongst others.
    One important detail is that all this information needs to be encrypted and anonymizers in websites could help to protect your privacy over the net. In medical data, before medical records where digitalized, vast amounts of files and medical records where stored and conserved in hospital file rooms, but with new technology medical records can be stored on servers electronically. A patient still has the right under HIPPA to give permission to who he sees fit to access his records but secured servers, encrypted information protect the information of patients.

    Financial privacy is one of the most important because the information about your money, assets and credit could adversely affect a bank’s costumer if this information is leaked into the wrong hands. Information containing transactions, bonds and sticks need to be guarded against identity theft and banks are creating stronger cyber defenses against hacks to protect our information in their institutions.


    Privacy for corporations, groups, government agencies and any other kind of organization and the precautions they take to keep certain aspects of what they are doing from anyone’s eyes but their own. This kind of privacy is growing with the future of technology and growing organizations “organizational privacy is increasingly vulnerable to the strategic intelligence of systems of other organizations”. With today’s systems it can be harder and easier to protect vital information. So the process of organizational privacy, one must stay updated with new technology and ways to keep someone from getting their information. One of the most basic ways to keep information protected is that “organizations may seek legal protection”.

Spiritual and intellectual

    Spiritual privacy is as important as any other privacy. One needs to protect your personal privacy (ID, Social Security card, licenses), our informational privacy ( bank accounts, medical records) and we must protect our spiritual beliefs as well. The best way to praise and follow your beliefs is in a quiet and private manner. A relationship with one’s god is no one’s business. The fact that many religions co-exist a certain privacy must exist as well. This is the way religions may co-exist. If we had all religions exploiting their beliefs by publicly praising their own god or openly practicing their traditions, clashes are bound to happen. Religions are tolerated and are let to be practiced freely in the US, but all of them have a common place, either a church, mosque, shrine or any other divine building that represents their faith. Keeping their practices private in their homes and in their place of worship is key for religions to survive. Many religions require intimacy with one self and their god, promoting spiritual privacy. The modern world accepts all religions but one’s spirituals beliefs are in need to be private not a public matter.

New Technology that can be Harmful

Social Networking

    Social networking can be a tricky thing when it comes to your privacy. It is something that we don’t thing about when we have a social networking page for example Facebook or Twitter. However how an article online describes it consider your privacy as “cash” (Our world). It is explain how you would not walk around with cash visible to others; and how one will usually hide it from the public. Privacy is the same thing, it needs to be protected and consider something very precious like cash or your iPad. Social networking sites lets you put several pieces of information that you allow others to see. The information can be simple as your name and last name to your phone number, address and linking your profile to the ones of your parents. All this information because visible to others can it can be the missing puzzle for someone who is an expert on identity theft. While social networking site are great one must be cautious in what we let others see other than a picture with you and your cat.

Cloud Computing

    This new “system” of storage might seem the greatest invention for those who depend on technology for memory usage instead of having files of papers of important information. However it is not all fun and games; while it is a method of not taking up space on your computer it can be extremely harmful when certain information gets to the wrong hands. Cloud computing is define on the name, it is a space where it can be “invisible” for us to see, but retrieving information makes it faster. Once something is put into the cloud internet it has “two owners” you and the internet. Deleting information from the cloud does not mean it’s gone forever. Cloud computing is a great resource; however we must be careful on what we put on the cloud if we don’t want others to get a hold of information.

How to protect yourself

    There are many things that people can do to protect their privacy in this day of age. There are many types of equipment that can make it to where someone cannot access private information. When protecting information you have to put into the fact of everything that can hold on to that data such as paper, technology, and even other people. Some equipment that the military uses to protect classified and above information are the Secure Telephone Unit (STU)-III, Secure Terminal Equipment (STE), and the Common Access Cards (CAC).

Secure Telephone Unit (STU)-III

    The STU-III can provide services as a desktop secure telephone, data modem, fax encryptions and secure video. The STU-III is mainly used as a secure telephone system; it is very user friendly, and cost effective. It operates on a single telephone circuit with full duplex and uses echo canceling modem technology.

Secure Terminal Equipment

    As of 2008 the STE replaced the STU generations as the current encrypted telephone communications system. Instead of working over a single telephone circuit the STE is uses Integrated Services Digital Networking telephone lines. The STE is hooked up to a patch panel that connects to a server using Fiber Optics. Fiber Optics is used since someone cannot tap into a Fiber Optics cable as one can into a RJ-11 telephone cable.

Common Access Card

    A Common Access Card or also known as is a smart card, is a very intelligent way of protecting data. The military uses more than just as an identity card. It has many functions as identity, access to a military base (in the sense of a military smartcard), and the main function allowing someone access to an information system. A CAC is a two key procedure of accessing an information system. First one must insert the card into a CAC reader then enter ones pin or password into the computer to gain access (just in case someone else gets a hold of the card of course).


    After reading this chapter, you should have a better understanding of what privacy means and about be more knowledgeable about the four different types of privacy: personal, informational, organization, and spiritual and intellectual. You should be more informed on how a person’s privacy can be affected by new technology and most importantly be familiar with ways to protect yourself from the ways you privacy could be violated.

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