(What did I know about privacy before now?)
I had some knowledge about privacy and mainly Internet browsing privacy including issues involved with accessing the world wide web, online shopping and so on. I spent 2 years in Mallow College studying computer networking & maintenance. Over that period of time I gained knowledge that opened my eyes to how things can go out of control if we are not careful when we use the Internet. Further more my credit card details were stolen once and I was very lucky to discover that nearly on the next day and cancel my card. Since then I keep in mind that no web site is safe enough and nobody is safe when browsing the Internet or shopping online. Security can be compromised and breached in some cases exposing personal information that no one should see.
(Why is privacy an important consideration for an engineer?)
As future engineers we will be dealing with the newest technologies and inventions. It does sound very exciting but are we going to be asked to make a compromise when it comes down to privacy of a client or an employer if substantial amount of money is involved. I am sure that some of us will have to make that choice in the near future.
As professionals we have the obligation to the public to take full responsibility for any products we create and any actions we undertake as mentioned in the Code of Ethics of an engineer. We could have access to enormous amount of private data including personal details of clients or new developments and projects. It is up to us to protect this data, be a professional and keep our dignity.
(What did I learn about privacy from this problem?)
This exercise only confirmed something that I already knew about how much information is available just by spending 10 minutes of research using Google search engine. The amount of information is just overwhelming and scary. I’ve heard of people trying to delete their profiles on Social websites as Google + , Facebook etc. and just when they thought that everything is gone they went back and saw that their accounts and personal information is still out there on line.
I know for a fact that everyone who does online shopping has a profile build by the online retailer (Amazon, Ebay) with all his/hers preferences and date-by-date purchase history. It is a very complicated world out there and many companies are at war for consumers. They are willing to go the extra mile so they can get us to shop with them. Hundreds of thousands of engineers are employed by this massive companies and their job is to keep us buying from the company they are working for.
As future engineers we might be facing the same working conditions as our fellows involved with this at the moment.
(What specific things will I do with the new insight that I have gained?)
From personal point of view this exercise just reminded me to be even more vigilant revealing any personal information about my self. I have to make sure in the future that I need to follow the code of ethics and be morally responsible in my professional career as an engineer.