Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Khadija Stewart

Second Advisor

Ted Bitner

Third Advisor

Karin Wimbley


Technology is taking over the world. In every aspect of human life, technology has been able to provide some sort of help or solution. At the forefront of this revolution is the Internet and with it, the activity of day-to-day life that now takes place online. This rapid takeover pushes technological innovations to develop quickly, pushing boundaries and creating a new way of life.

Today in the United States, websites are allowed to track user data. When a user clicks on a website that intends on documenting the user's actions, the website installs a tracker, otherwise known as "cookie." Websites then use this collected data to create a profile for each and every user that visits their site. This process creates a vast database that has changed the methods of online marketing and increased business revenue. Although websites in the United States are now starting to alert users of cookie collecting, due to the implementation of the European Union's recent General Data Protection Regulation, the alerts are full of lengthy legal jargon, which means that users don't understand what is happening to their data when they browse a website.

The four pillars of ethics, when applied to online data collection, suggest that there are issues with autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice within this data collection field. Due to the fast-paced development of technology, there has not been enough time for regulation to catch up with the major companies that are paving the way for big data practices. Along with the pillars of ethics, privacy and security are at stake, not just for the individual consumer, but for society as a whole.


Honor Scholar Thesis