Just last week, I got one of those annoying E-mails from a firm hawking Internet spying services. For a fee, it claimed to provide names and addresses by matching license-plate numbers, unlisted phone numbers, criminal records, and more. Much of this information is probably drawn from public databases, but what this provider claims to offer goes beyond a respect for privacy. For example, it will find "dirty secrets" (whatever that means) about your neighbors.
When it comes to privacy, it's often a question of balance. On one hand, the more companies know about their customers, the better they can serve them. I like that my bank knows me well enough to make investment suggestions, that a particular online toy site reminds me of important birthdays and suggests age-appropriate gifts, that old friends can look me up in an alumni directory. I choose to give these businesses certain data, and, while my level of control is admittedly limited, I've got to trust them to use it appropriately.
How is your company finding the right balance?