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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Share the Tale of Your Data Trail


This week I wrote about how improvements in technology and the capacity to store huge amounts of data cheaply now allow both the government and the private sector to collect and retain vast amounts of personal information. The laws and regulations that govern such collection, in the view of many experts, are outdated and inconsistent.

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Have you ever thought about the data trail you leave as you go about the ordinary business of living in an age of information â€" carrying a smart phone that records your location, using a computer that stores e-mail and Web pages you have visited, using credit cards that detail your purchases?

Do you worry at all about the intimate portrait of you that the government, or some other snoop, might be able to piece together with access to all this data? Do you notice the surveillance cameras and license-plate re aders now proliferating in cities, at airports and on the roads?

I'm looking for stories from readers to get a sense of how aware they are of these possible intrusions on their privacy and how they feel about it. Have you ever been surprised to find out that you were transmitting personal data without knowing it? Have you ever taken steps to deny access to such information?

Or do you shun such concerns, figuring that you have nothing to hide and don't particularly care which companies or agencies might learn about you? Do you think that the benefits derived from the collection of such information outweigh the risks?

Send in your stories to agenda@nytimes.com or post a comment below. I may follow up with some readers for an interview.