One of the most controversial issues facing consumers using the Internet has been privacy. Consumers have been concerned not just about having important information such as credit card numbers given out to the wrong people but also other information such as addresses and phone numbers.
One of the biggest controversies over privacy and the Internet has concerned so-called informational databases that companies accumulate when individuals buy something or registers on their sites. These databases contain personal information that can be sold to other corporations wishing to target those consumers. Corporations have traditionally treated these databases as a normal business asset. Recently Congress has stepped in to enact legislation making it more difficult to sell or purchase these databases without the consent of the consumer providing the information. There are questions about the reach of some of this legislation, however.