Formal organizations such as business or governmental organizations organize a huge number of members of society, and as such, these formal organizations are inclined or tend to have a need and desire for information about its members in order to operate more efficiently and effectively. As formal organizations continue to evolve and expand due to the advancement of technology and the growing needs of modern society, the level of personal privacy has continued to decline or diminish as well and remains at risk. And since technology has developed easier ways to collect, store and access information about anything and anyone with the creation of the internet, the threat of third persons having access to such information has largely increased.Furthermore, the birth and continued growth and development of the internet has made it easier for people who we do not know to readily access information about us at any given time and do anything they want with the information they have gathered or acquired. Therefore, it is hard – if not impossible – to control the access and use by a stranger of such personal information we divulge to the formal organizations we are members of. As a consequence, such uncontrolled and unbridled exchange of personal information has led to a widespread concern about the possible or continued loss of the personal privacy of the members of society.
Therefore, the spread of formal organizations threaten personal privacy as any person may access the personal information of another due to the unprotected disclosure and exchange of information required by different formal organizations of society and thus, their collection and access to such information must be regulated.By allowing and tolerating the free and unrestricted collection and access of our personal or individual information, we compromise our own security and right to privacy. We allow strangers to invade our private lives and make arbitrary use of the information they obtain at their discretion.
Such may lead to adverse effects on one’s life for the information obtained by the stranger may be used by him to commit violations of the law or gain access to one’s personal accounts and leave the owner of such information to take the fall. Furthermore, if one is not careful about the information he or she allows others to obtain about him or her, one might find himself in trouble and manipulated by means of identity theft.A likely example would be one of a consumer transaction such as when one is purchasing goods or services of a company or organization from the internet like in eBay; one would have to pay for such goods or services ordered by divulging his or her credit card information, information about the item purchased and other personal information. The purchaser would not know who would be able to access the information given but would have to give such information if he or she would want to carry on with the transaction.Hence, one can send and access information of others with just one click through the internet or the computer.
Another example would be filling up a form for any government agency where your personal information will be placed in a computer for other governmental agencies to access.Consequently, the records of their transactions can end up anywhere and may be accessed by any other person. This is also true for employment agencies or employers who require certain information from their employees and put it in a database which can be accessed by other people including future employers, thus, eroding the personal privacy of the individual.Privacy issues may also come into play in other formal organizations which include video cameras at their premises to survey one’s actions and to ensure the safety of the individual or who include photos of the individual in their database to ensure his identity when transacting or doing business with that person. In this case, private safety may be achieved but at the cause or expense of ones personal privacy. However, this kind of privacy issue in relation to formal organizations is not as alarming as that of freely giving out personal information to the public at large for when such information falls into the hands of unscrupulous individuals, one may not know what havoc it may bring.
Furthermore, since such organizations tend to treat people impersonally, they do not take extra steps or precaution to safeguard the information that the people give to those formal organizations. These formal organizations do not care about the privacy of the individuals who they seek information from as their relationship with such individuals are not on a personal level and because the information they obtain is generic for all and is needed merely for the effective operations of such organizations thus, they do not care about the safety of the information they obtain or the individual who provided them with such information.In order to address the problem of the continued decline of personal privacy due to the spread of formal organizations, one must be vigilant in disclosing certain information about themselves or their choices when required by such formal organizations.
One must be fully aware of what he’s giving his consent to: If he consents to the access by others of the information he provides or if he consents only to the access to such by certain individuals and he should know and make clear the extent of his consent. In this way, the individual may protect himself from the unwanted invasion or intrusion of others and their access to his or her personal information.Aside from self-protection by being more cautious with the information you divulge and allow the public to access, there are legal protections provided by the states as some have passed laws or ordinances which give its citizens the right to inspect some records containing information about themselves which are in the custody of such formal organizations such as their employers or the governmental agencies concerned. One of the laws mentioned in the book of John J. Macionis was the U.S.
Privacy Act of 1974. This Act regulates the exchange of information between government agencies and sets limits to what can be disclosed to other parties. Such act also allows the individual to inspect and edit his information at the custody of the government, therefore limiting the intrusion to one’s privacy and access to one’s information. However, although there are laws that try to address the problem or issue of the declining level of privacy due to the spread of such formal organizations such as the U.S.
Privacy Act of 1974 previously mentioned, there are no laws which adequately solve the problem of privacy.The only way to solve the problem of the lack or erosion of personal privacy is to educate the people in what information to give and how to safeguard such information. In addition, there is a need for the government to enact a law which creates standards to protect privacy and limits the information required to the basic information of individuals. There is a need to limit information being revealed or exchanged in order to ensure that the safety and privacy of the individual disclosing such information will not be put at risk. This is because laws which set stricter standards and parameters for the exchange of information, especially with respect to the access of personal information given or supplied to such formal organizations can ensure further protection of the individual and his privacy.With proper regulation and restrictions, the decline in the level of privacy brought about by the unsecured and free exchange of information between individuals and formal organizations may be put to a stop for the only information that may be collected would be those relevant or necessary for the operations of such formal organizations and at the same time would also provide protection and security to the individual to avoid intrusion of their privacy.Finally, one can always find a middle ground or a solution that would benefit both sides, and in this case, better laws which protect the individual’s right to privacy and security by the protection of the information he or she divulges can also benefit the formal organizations who require such information as such laws may allow such formal organizations to find a balance between the system for the continued maintenance and efficient operations of those formal organizations and minimal intrusion on the privacy of the individual.