Online Privacy Versus Offline Privacy

Answer : As more and more firms practice relationship marketing and develop customer databases, privacy issues are emerging as an important topic. Consumers and public interest groups are scrutinizing- and sometimes criticizing the privacy policies of firms.
Concerns are also being raised about potential theft of online credit card information or other potentially sensitive or confidential financial information. Others maintain that the online privacy fears are unfounded and that security issues are every bit as much a concern in the off-line world. They argue that the opportunity to steal information exists virtually everywhere and that it is up to the consumer to protect his or her interests.
Pro: Privacy is a larger issue in the online world than the off-line world simply because the information has a greater opportunity to be exposed to more people than off-line transactions.The transmission of private information electronically travels through electronic channels each of which presents opportunity for misdirection or computer “hacking” activities. In many of these cases, the person, or firm transmitting this information, redirecting this information receiving this information and storing this information is unknown to the consumer. In the offline world, the consumer has the opportunity to know the company, personnel, or firm receiving this information and has the opportunity to accept or decline sharing their personal information.
Con: Transmission of personal information in the off-line world still travels electronically, in many cases. The act of paying with a credit card still involves the transmission of data electronically at some point in the transaction. What differs is the fact that the consumer is initially interfacing with a person (or firm). Although this does not mitigate the risks involved to the consumer, it does present some concrete knowledge of the people, or firm involved in the transaction.