Relationship between Information Security versus Information Privacy

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The rapid advancement of the use of information technology (IT) in industry, government, and academia raises challenging questions and problems regarding the protection and use of personal information. Questions of who has what rights to information about individuals for which purposes become more important as we move toward a world in which it is technically possible to know just about anything about anyone.

Deciding how to design privacy considerations in technology for the future includes philosophical, legal, and practical dimensions. There is a considerable overlap between issues related to access to resources (security) and issues related to appropriate use of information (privacy). We now define the difference between security versus privacy.

Security in information technology refers to many aspects of protecting a system from unauthorized use, including authentication of users, information encryption, access control, firewall policies, and intrusion detection. For our purposes here, we 842 Chapter 24 Database Security will limit our treatment of security to the concepts associated with how well a system can protect access to information it contains. The concept of privacy goes beyond security. Privacy examines how well the use of personal information that the system acquires about a user conforms to the explicit or implicit assumptions regarding that use. From an end user perspective, privacy can be considered from two different perspectives: preventing storage of personal information versus ensuring appropriate use of personal information.

For the purposes of this chapter, a simple but useful definition of privacy is the ability of individuals to control the terms under which their personal information is acquired and used. In summary, security involves technology to ensure that information is appropriately protected. Security is a required building block for privacy to exist. Privacy involves mechanisms to support compliance with some basic principles and other explicitly stated policies. One basic principle is that people should be informed about information collection, told in advance what will be done with their information, and given a reasonable opportunity to approve of such use of the information. A related concept, trust, relates to both security and privacy, and is seen as increasing when it is perceived that both security and privacy are provided for.

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