As more and more information becomes available online it seems to be more difficult to regulate privacy rights. Nearly everyone that contributes to the “property” available online has to use a second or even third party—and that is just adding obvious “property” like photos and music. When it comes to more abstract forms of property, privacy becomes even more difficult.
Collecting data that is gathered from cookies and consumer registrations is a privacy issue, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is how marketers use that information; when the use of that particular information become intrusive, that is when people want/need protection. In Steve McClellan’s article titled, Goldstein: New Media Spurs Privacy Concerns, “The industry,” Marc Goldstein said, “has to do a better job of proactively managing the privacy issue, or the government could take the decision away from us.” Goldstein is exactly right, if “the industry” cannot control the way they are managing privacy issues, then they will lose their ability to have harmless access to valuable information.
When any medium for free-flowing information becomes more rigid, there will be a loss of the independent atmosphere that allows so many people to communicate with the masses—not just marketers and industry people, but the general public as well. The NAI code for self-regulation does create guidelines for the industry to follow and the main points they stress benefit those that use the Internet. Giving consumers notice, choice, access, and security are all things that create a more secure cyberspace environment.
In a perfect world, marketers and industry professionals would have a clear understanding of what is ethical and what is not. They would realize that there is a world of private information available to them online, but that does not mean that it is theirs to do with as they please with. Property rights are a necessary evil because of the misuse of people’s private property in cyberspace. In the end, property rights will help consumers and Internet users safer, but it will be an ongoing process as new technologies arise.