Title

TECHNOLOGY'S IMPACT ON CONSUMERS AND THEIR PRIVACY

Date of Award

8-23-2011

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Information & Comm Technology

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Department

Info & Communications Technol

Advisor

Holger Weinhardt

Keywords

privacy; consumers

Abstract

Technology has largely shaped the world in which we live today. Much has been written about the microprocessor and Moore's Law of ever expanding capacity. Creative people have taken these capabilities in technology and have truly transformed society. The building-sized computers that were initially available only to government entities have had their power exponentially increased and scaled down to the size of a tiny microchip. Consumers who once fumbled for money and change in their pockets now use a type of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) card to purchase everything from cars to ice cream cones at a McDonald's drive thru. At one point in 1985, 89 percent of retail transactions were made in cash. By 2008 this number had come down to 25 percent. Fueled by convenience, special promotions, and loyalty cards it has become commonplace to carry multiple cards in one's possession. With the amount of data that is created, communicated and stored, it didn't take long for opportunistic thieves to realize there was a lot of cash hidden in those transactions. Hence cybercrime and identity crimes have skyrocketed over the last two decades. This paper will address several areas of consumer/retail technology including a more in-depth look into electronic commerce, the weaknesses in protecting consumers, and how hackers have become cyber-criminals. In the second half of the paper we will look at what companies, and ourselves, must do to protect consumer data. Finally, we will explore if identity theft and security breaches can be eliminated, and review my conclusions with respect to the thesis statement.

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