The Ethical Dilemma of Data Brokers: Weighing Their Social Impact

1. Do data brokers pose an Ethical Dilemma? Explain your answer. Answer:
Data brokers have both negative and positive social impact as such they pose an ethical dilemma.

In one hand, from the case, we know that information that data brokers provide or sell to its customers like Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security and Justice have used for law enforcement and counterterrorism. More broadly, these data are being used to locate the assets of delinquent taxpayers, and screen candidates for federally controlled airport security workforce.

Likewise, the insurance companies, banks and state and local government agencies benefits from these vast pool of personal information to develop new products and services and/or to devise their marketing strategies. In short, the data brokers are helping many private and government organization to make positive impact in society and country as a whole.

On other hand, since there is no specific law on how they collect, maintain and sell data, there are the instances that these data lack the reliability and also lack the quality resulting to loss of jobs and loss of their saving to higher insurance premium.

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In addition to these, data can probe threat to individual personal privacy and social well being.

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Since data are used both for good and noble causes and in many cases these data has also been manipulated for their own benefits by criminals, data brokers face the ethical dilemma.

2. What are the problems caused by the proliferation of data brokers? What management, organization, and technology factors are responsible for these problems? Answer:
Data proliferation is problematic for several reasons:

• Information from the data brokers pose personal security threat, pose privacy concern and affect social well being. • Can store wrong information (information mismatch) on individuals because of multiple sources of information and improper screening. • The wrong information pose job security threat increased insurance premium, loss of job, and non availability of the financing.

The technological factors responsible for these data proliferations are difficulties to find and retrieve required information. Slower networks and application performance due to excess traffic as users search and search again for the material they need has caused this problems.

The management factors responsible for these problems are increased manpower requirements to manage increasingly chaotic data storage resources.

The organizational factors responsible for these problems are data protection as there are the chances of data loss and legal liability when data is disorganized, not properly replicated, or cannot be found in a timely manner. And also high cost in terms of the energy resources required in operating these storage hardware have contributed to data proliferations.

3. How effective are existing solutions to these problems? Answer:
Referring the case, we know that all the information that are bought and sold through data brokers are public and legal. In addition to this, we also know that data broker is purely an unregulated industry and in such context where there are no comprehensive laws to regulate collection, maintenance and on usages of data, the self regulation policies that some firms are practicing are not sufficient and effective.

4. Should the U.S. federal government regulate private data brokers? Why or why not? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Answer:

I strongly believe that the US federal government should regulate private data brokers, as from the case we know that falsified information has threatened both personal privacy and social well beings. Also these regulations will help to streamline the data broker industry by making them liable to for the information they have sold and also to penalize and discourage, unregulated sales of the data to anybody.

The only disadvantage I see on regulating data sales is the increased cost to the organization as data brokers have to use only the reliable and authentic source the information will be much costlier.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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The Ethical Dilemma of Data Brokers: Weighing Their Social Impact. (2016, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/data-on-sale-essay

The Ethical Dilemma of Data Brokers: Weighing Their Social Impact essay
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