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The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media Case Study

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Updated: May 9th, 2020

The era of the digital media changed the people’s approaches to distributing and accessing the information as well as to consuming it. The digital products and services provide persons with the opportunities to receive the necessary and effective information quickly, but today it is more difficult to control the processes of consumption according to the legal and ethical standards. Thus, the issue of responsible consumption is the characteristic feature of the digital media era. However, the problem is also in the fact that not only copyright and intellectual property laws can be violated with references to the people’s irresponsible consumer behaviors and to the global access to the information but also privacy rights are often neglected because of the lack of the legal norms and developed policies. From this point, consumption of the digital media is the complex process which includes the issues of copyright and privacy because people should be responsible for sharing the personal and copyrighted information, and web sites should be responsible for following the rules of the data privacy in order to create the conditions for the effective consumption.

To respond to the interests of consumers, it is necessary to focus on the aspects of data privacy in relation to the associated global, social, ethical, and legal contexts. The Internet connection provides the people’s access to the required and interesting information globally. The standards and laws protecting the persons’ interests regarding their privacy and intellectual property are various in different countries. The legal aspects are often connected with social and ethical issues. On the one hand, sharing the personal information on the social media platforms and providing the availability to the materials for millions of the platform’s users, a person is responsible for the consequences of such ‘openness’. On the other hand, consumers should know how the personal information can be used by the web sites owners in relation to the marketing or promotional purposes and for recording the statistics about the clients (Whitehouse, 2010). If the necessary information is not provided for consumers, the ethical and legal norms are violated by the web sites owners and by the other consumers who can have access to this type of personal information.

The progress of the Internet as the global knowledge base changed the people’s attitudes to the concept of privacy in the virtual world. Modern consumers can be divided into two categories of persons who prefer to share the personal information with the help of the Internet resources and those ones who focus on protecting the personal information from the irresponsible consumption because of lacking security. From this perspective, these two categories of consumers determine the development of the concept of privacy in relation to protecting the idea with privacy laws on the one side and copyright laws on the other side, and the aspects of the modern consumption regarding ethical and social contexts are also considered (Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks, 2012). It is possible to state that the concentration on defining the elements of the privacy issue as well as the nature of privacy in the modern digital world can contribute to overcoming the ethical problems of violating people’s privacy online.

Persons cannot be sure regarding their responsible consumption until they are sure in the choice of the other people to share personal information. In this case, the frames of privacy are determined by the consumers. However, there are cases when personal information can be used, shared, copied, and distributed without references to the consumers’ privacy rights. These cases can be explained from the point of the legal norms with the focus on the absence of the clients’ consent (Digital Media Rights – Privacy Policy, 2012). Nevertheless, today such programs used by web sites as cookies are discussed as rather controversial in relation to the context of consumers’ privacy. Many web sites use cookies and other web tracking resources for their specific purposes, including charitable and commercial needs. To conclude about the consumers’ preferences, web sites owners are inclined to monitor the users’ activities and record this information for its further analysis and working out the effective strategies to attract more consumers (Web tracking and privacy, 2013).

If the web site uses cookies, the consumer receives the message in which the permission to use cookies is asked. However, Internet users often do not know the details of using cookies for web sites and companies’ goals. It is possible to state that web sites owners and companies take the position of a consumer themselves when they use cookies and learn the aspects of the personal information, and this situation allows speaking about the issue of consumption from the other side (Digital Media Rights – Privacy Policy, 2012). There are many web sites which ask for permission to add the cookie files to the browser in order to receive the information about the person’s Internet activities which can be discussed as private in its nature. Nevertheless, there are a lot of web sites which do not protect the privacy of the clients and do not guarantee security. Moreover, browsers can install cookie files automatically, and many web sites can monitor persons’ preferences about definite web searches, their likes, and dislikes in the virtual world of the Internet. The market research realized with the help of web tracking and cookies is the important part of the global economic development, but certain legal and ethical norms can be violated if the principles of the persons’ privacy are not followed adequately (Web tracking and privacy, 2013). In spite of the fact that web tracking programs cannot receive the access to the personal information from the users’ computers, there are many risks that the recorded information can be used with violating the laws and ethical norms associated with privacy.

The issue of privacy in the digital media world is closely associated with the idea of responsible consumption because not only copyright should be protected with the help of laws to guarantee the appropriate consumption processes but also the issue of clients’ privacy should be met with references to the definite ethical norms and legal policies. Thus, although the issue of privacy in relation to the digital media world is actively discussed globally, ethical and legal contexts are more important to analyze the problematic question. In many cases, the privacy of Internet users is not protected appropriately. Privacy issues can be discussed with references to the people who share the personal information and who consume this information later if it was released without the owner’s consent. However, there is the other aspect of the problem when web sites use web tracking programs such as cookies to receive more information about users, which can be discussed rather personal in some cases.


Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks. (2012). Web.

Digital Media Rights – Privacy Policy. (2012). Web.

. (2013). Web.

Whitehouse, G. (2010). Newsgathering and privacy: Expanding ethics codes to reflect change in the digital media age. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 25(1), 310–327. Web.

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"The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media." IvyPanda, 9 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy-in-the-digital-media/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media." May 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy-in-the-digital-media/.


IvyPanda. "The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media." May 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy-in-the-digital-media/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media." May 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy-in-the-digital-media/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Issue of Privacy in the Digital Media'. 9 May.

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