"It's none of your business." That phrase used to mean something; but increasingly, our private concerns seem to be everybody's business. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Internet, where we are constantly asked for everything from our ages to our salaries to our shoe sizesto sign on to sites or obtain information from merchants.

Retailers do have a legitimate reason for wanting to know about us. Demographic information enables them to provide goods and services more tailored to our individual needs and to let us know when something comes up that might match our interests. However, for many of us, that's not a compelling enough reason to risk letting personal information get into the wrong hands.

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