How Much Information is too Much In the Information Age


 Over the last decade with the boom of the Internet we, have been bombarded with more information than ever before. The Information Age has connected the world together through technology giving us unprecedented access to anything and everything known to man. Understanding the Information Age interests me very much as it has a direct impact on the economy, society, and culture as a whole. In the United States, it’s not that we don’t have enough information to work with as in past centuries, it’s that we have too much information which has become difficult to disseminate and trust.


Everything we do could be categorized between work and home life. Within these two categories we, are using technology to one degree or another to access, gather, or spread information. It is pervasive and non-stop. What started from the invention of the telephone and the telegraph in the 1800’s turned into personal computers in the 1980s and smartphones of today. These technologies merged to become what is now called the internet through its endless communications networks. The Information Age has provided the world and instant and expansive way to do business globally. This has created both positive and negative side effects to our privacy and security (Angell, 2000).


In the article “The Struggle Between Liberties and Authorities in the Information Age”, author Mariarosaria Taddeo (2015) proposes a new approach for balance between individual rights and cyber-security measures. In the article, Taddeo describes the tension between individual rights and the institutions that create them. Over the past few decades, government officials have had to come up with cyber-security measures to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. As the government has used its power to develop programs and applications to protect its own privacy it has done so by undermining individual’s’ rights. Taddeo used the 2013 National Security Agency (NSA) scandal as the most notorious example of the state’s abuse of power using surveillance and data mining to gather information in the name of national security. She questions whether a balance can ever be achieved because in order to gain back individual rights states would be required to use fewer cyber-security measures. Since a precedent has already been set this, is unlikely to occur anytime soon. Instead, she proposes a specific criterion by creating precise definitions for individual rights as it pertains to online information, and by doing so would give public authorities the right to breach personal privacy only when a threat is imminent. Lastly, she provides an ethical framework as outlined in the 2005 United Nations World Summit as the blueprint for how individual rights in cyberspace should be handled.


As globalization continues to place pressure on the international market, it is important that private information is not being used against multinational corporations to create a competitive advantage. In March 2007, Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman, argued for comprehensive federal legislation that could regulate information privacy laws (Schwartz, 2009). His concern was that without a set standard of conduct for international operations could potentially cause sensitive information about their products to get into the wrong hands. Since then, multinational business such as Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Proctor & Gamble have joined support. Among the benefits, Bill Gates included harmony with the European union while reducing privacy conflicts that many countries already face.

In his article, “The ‘Peer-Effect’ in Counterterrorist Policies,” Eric Neumayer shows the dangers of comprehensive privacy law, proposed by Bill Gates, as it invades the rights of immigrants traveling to the United States. One author in Neumayer’s article cited thirty potential cases of abuse of power the government has already been using. Such violations included biometric passports, the establishment of a DNA database, tracking of movement patterns, surveillance, number plate recognition, and worst of all detention for a prescribed period of time with no formal charge (2014). All this information is gathered from the government as justification for safety at a loss of privacy.

One of the most interesting things I discovered during my research was that this issue is split down the middle. While some argued for a policy of full transparency from the government (Scassa, 2014), other believed that such exposure of information would pose a threat to individuals (Misken, 2012) or even to national security.

In conclusion, the Information Age has provided us unprecedented access to more information than we could have ever possibly imagined. It has allowed businesses to prosper more now than ever before due to its ability to share and trade information instantly. The negative side effect is that some institutions have used this information to invade our privacy. As the globalization movement continues to grow, we will continue to have to ask ourselves how much information is too much.


Angell, I. O. (2000). The New Barbarian Manifesto: How to Survive the Information Age. London: Kogan Page.Retrieved from

Scassa, T. (2014). Privacy and open government. Future Internet, 6(2), 397–413. doi:

Schwartz, P. M. (2009, March). Preemption and privacy. Yale Law Journal, 118(5), 902+. Retrieved from

Misken, K. M., & Simmons, C. L. (2012). Government addresses privacy concerns in bankruptcy sales. American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, 31(10), 28–71. Retrieved from

Neumayer, E., Plümper, T., & Epifanio, M. (2014). The “peer-effect” in counterterrorist policies. International Organization, 68(1), 211–234.doi:

Taddeo, M. (2015). The struggle between liberties and authorities in the information age. Science and Engineering Ethics, 21(5), 1125–1138.doi:

Related Articles