AMERICAN DOSSIER: YOUR LIFE ON THE INTERNET
Issues in Information Systems
This paper explores virtual privacy in the Information Age. It observes that personal data, transactional records, digital exhaust, and meta-data -provided with knowledge or without consent -are being gathered, compiled, stored, mined, and sold on the open market by governments, corporations, and individuals. These data are growing at an exponential rate in part due to naïveté, trust, and voluntary actions by technology users. Personal data are now routinely subjected to unprecedented
... ecedented intrusions as emerging technology has far outstripped any legal or constitutional protections. We conclude that relinquishing personal privacy is the currency spent in search of convenience and scarce time when using mobile computing devices, smart phones, and the internet. Our very human footprints, caches of personal and professional data, intellectual property, and private intimate details are manifested indelibly within our digital dossiers on the infinitely public internet. THE FATHER OF DOSSIER AMERICA J. Edgar Hoover deserves the dubious credit for being the modern father of Dossier America. As Weiner [54, p. xvi] observed in his history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), "He was a founding father of American intelligence and the architect of the modern surveillance state." Nevertheless, the steady gathering of personal information by the government occurred well before Hoover and has continued unabated to this day. Citing Donohue  and Harris , Perrow [33, p. 87] has sketched the direction in modern times: "Though defunded by Congress, the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects program with its eighteen data mining operations were transferred to the National Security Agency (NSA), CIA, and FBI." Perrow goes on to note that the assistance of all but one of the first-line telephone companies in NSA's data-mining programs became a political football in 2006 national electoral politics. In 2013 and 2014, the very same issues resurfaced with the revelations of former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Joseph Snowden. Hogan [22, p. 122] aptly framed this situation in a discussion of intelligence gathering nearly a decade ago when he observed: Data is manipulated daily to the detriment of the average person in America. Privacy is becoming a thing of the past. Virtually anyone in the world can get a credit report that lists all your debts, how quickly you pay them (or don't), and much more information related to your daily life.