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Business Law Chapter 45 Homework This module is, loosely, a compliment to the privacy-at-work

Page Count
4 pages
Word Count
784 words
Book Title
Applied Business Ethics: A Skills-Based Approach 1st Edition
Authors
Dean Bredeson
MODULE 45: Store Cards, Search Engines, and Customer Data
Core Module Issues:
Should a company every sell customer data to other companies?
What if the company runs a search engine, and the data is a customer's
searches?
Module Teaching Notes
This module is, loosely, a compliment to the privacy-at-work modules earlier in the book. But this time, we
will examine whether companies should forego money making opportunities to protect information about
their customers.
Everyone knows that a phone number or an address given to one business may well be sold, and may well
lead to telemarketing calls or junk mail from lots of other businesses.
But many people fail to realize the amount of amount of customer data that is collected from many different
sources.
One interesting “opening discussion” to have on this topic is whether students actually, to an extent, like
companies sharing information about them.
For example, I am a fan of an obscure team that is not at all popular the St. Louis Blues (hockey). It is
remarkable how many pop up ads many on websites I visit infrequently or have never visited before
feature St. Louis Blues hoodies, tickets, and collectibles.
I'm not sure what specific mechanism has spread the word far and wide that I am a Blues fan, but
something clearly has done so.
Some students like marketing that is “accurately targeted” they like it when companies know what they
want and advertise desired, as opposed to random, products.
Others are distressed that their privacy is invaded.
The scenario focuses first on a store card that can track customers' purchases, and the characters debate
whether they should profit from gathering and then selling data.
The scenario then raises the issue of customers' online searches. Some students couldn't care less
whether their grocery store buys are tracked, but they suddenly become concerned about privacy when their
(perhaps embarrassing, in some cases) searches may be spread far and wide.
If you like, add a lecture topic or two that refers back to employee privacy issues, and ask whether customer
or employee privacy is more important.
Discussion Points for Scenario Questions
1. Did the CDC make appropriate use of store card data in the real salmonella case outlined at
the beginning of this module?
A. YES IS IT GENERALLY “OK” IF THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS DATA
FOR SOME SPECIFIC PURPOSE?
2. Would you be comfortable with the CDC accessing store card data in a future case if it did
not ask permission of sick patients ahead of time?
A. YES WHAT IF NO ONE'S HEALTH WAS IMMEDIATELY THREATENED?
B. NO IS IT THE LACK OF NOTICE SPECIFICALLY, OR SOME OTHER
REASON?
3. Should LightSpeed create a policy against ever voluntarily turning over customer data?
A. YES ANY EXCEPTIONS?
4. Assume that the search engine you use most commonly released a list of all searches done by
all users to the government. Assume further that users' names were attached to each list. Would
you be at all uneasy? Would you be less likely to use that search engine in the future?
A. UNEASY WHY?
B. NOT UNEASY COME, NOW, SURELY YOU HAVE SEARCHED FOR
SOMETHING EMBARASSING.
5. The government aside, are you bothered by companies that sell your information to other
companies? Are you less likely to buy items and services from companies that spread around
your phone number, address, and other personal information?
A. DON'T MIND DO YOU GET A LOT OF JUNK MAIL /SPAM/
UNSOLICITED TELEMARKETING CALLS?

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