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Access Stage

As technology has continued to advance, more open and ubiquitous access tools and functionality information began to change the ways that people used technology, how they communicated, and, most important, what they shared. Participants were not just acquiring information, but they were also contributing, refining, sharing, and broadcasting it—sometimes to closed, selected groups and sometimes to all (i.e., the public). The key difference between the extranet stage and the access stage was the magnitude of sharing and the ease of access to enabling technology (identity management [IDM], social networks, blogs, and smartphones) (Figure 1-5). More and more, people used technology to connect with one another, to participate, and to share their lives—work and personal. Just as people had once used meetings, the water cooler, or parties as places to meet and chat and access one another, now they used the net.

Figure 1-5. Access stage

As the nature and ability to share grew during the access stage, so too did privacy concerns. Some of these concerns relate to the type and nature of information that individuals were willing to share in public and quasi-public settings as well as questions surrounding the general public's understanding of the power and potentially lasting impact of tools and technologies. This is a fundamental awareness or behavioral cognizance asymmetry that we still suffer from today.

Additional concerns were raised by the growing desire for governments and other enterprises to use and exploit larger and larger datasets about individual and aggregate users of technologies in the name of providing “service” or “creating community” or just plain “marketing.”

Struggling legislators have grappled with these consumer and governmental interference issues by attempting to add increasing legal penalties to the miscollection and use of data. California's now watershed SB1386 [1] data breach notification law is one such example, where collectors and keepers of information about people were forced to reveal data loss or theft to individual data subjects[2] in the hope of helping individuals to prepare against identity theft or other misuse.

Although this law did not come into effect until 2003—far after other comprehensive data protection laws and frameworks—this California State statute was arguably one of the first laws to create rapid, expensive, and inevitable change in corporate and governmental planning and prevention. Breach notification requirements continue to be adopted across the globe as more territories seek to protect their citizens and create

requirements for tangible and measurable data protection protocols, tools, organizations and education.[3]

  • [1] leginfo.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/sen/sb_1351-1400/sb_1386_bill_20020926_chaptered.pdf
  • [2] A data subject is simply the individual who is described by data elements either alone or in combination with other data elements.
  • [3] The advent (or development) of the chief privacy officer (CPO) role, in particular, as well as the need for the professionalization of privacy as a distinct profession, in general, were other key developments during this stage of the Information Age.
 
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