What Can’t be Done Online?

    March 13, 2000

O.K. I admit that title is a bit of hyperbole, but it seems to be going that direction, doesn’t it? WebSite101 has long been an advocate of bringing *all* businesses, big and small online. We have focused most of our energy on bringing the home office online, assuring that mom and pop businesses get their share of the internet pie.

Now the big boys have come to recognize that almost anything and everything can be accomplished online and the world is shrinking. Mom and pop, meet global business. Hewlett-Packard has announced that they are leading us all toward eConnection. Their television ads suggest the melding of every aspect of our lives through the internet.

Imagine the possiblilities of linking online from your health- care providers to your local paramedics through the internet. Extrapolating from that point suggests linking to medical records, health databases, family medical histories, DNA maps and onward toward complete knowledge of *your* physical being.

The possible invasion of privacy seems nearly as immense as the good to be done by these vast linkages of information. I predict that the biggest debate to emerge this decade will be how to preserve your privacy in the developing network of databases which house some aspect of your lives.

Online advertiser DoubleClick got a giant dose of a bitter reality pill when they attempted to merge two databases of previously unlinked information. They have gathered infor- mation on the online behavior and preferences of millions of web surfers and thought they’d link that information to a database of the physical addresses and telephone numbers of those surfers. The resultant uproar stopped them cold.

People love convenience, but demand privacy.

I am a lover of technology, and as such, I’ve established online accounts with banks, retail stores, virtual offices, employers and virtual business partners that I’ve never met in person. The majority of my income this year was derived from virtual employment on projects. In order to gain that business, I spread my qualifications and resume far and wide over the web in publicly accessible databases.

The idea of providing that information to the world is just short of horrifying to my wife. She has nothing to hide and much to be proud of in her career and professional life, but will not make it publicly accessible. This is a possible stumbling block to the eConnection of the world. If you want the convenience of universal information sharing, sort of an “Open Source” of personal data, you have to agree to tell the world everything.

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers http://seoptimism.com/SEO_Staff_Training.htm
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at
http://WebSite101.com and blogs about SEO at http://RealitySEO.com
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.