Privacy: A New Facet of American Culture? For many of us, the Internet is a wonderful tool. It makes it possible to e-mail our friends and family, helps us bank and pay our bills, compare different brands that we might consider purchasing, and find the best price of a desired item. But how much of this “wonderfulness” are we willing to exchange for our personal data? Marketers want to know who we are, and where we go on the Internet. So, for example, they’ve been installing collies on our computers for years. That’s why once we’ve visited a Web site; the next time we want to click on it its listing is a different color. And if you increase the security level of your computer so that your PC will not accept cookies, then chances are that a Web site you want to visit won’t let you on. Google has been particularly criticized by those with security concerns because of how it operates its G-mail system. G-mail automatically delivers ads to the user, based on e-mail content. Many users are not happy that Google is monitoring their e-mail in order to send them ads, even if, based on e-mail content, the ads are relevant. In today’s world of identify deft and computer viruses, consumers are resisting swapping personal information for increased value, whether it is taking place online or offline. Jupiter Research has found that 58 percent of Internet users say that they have deleted cookies, with as many as 39 percent claiming to do so monthly. And 28 percent of Internet users are selectively rejecting third-party cookies, like those placed by online ad networks. In January 2003, only 3 percent did so. Question 1. Is personal privacy a new U.S. culture value?
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