Abuse of information technology includes willful or negligent activities that affect the confidentiality, integrity or availability of computer or other digital resources, such as email accounts, digital property, real property and communications records. This type of abuse occurs in many forms, including illegal activities and invasion of privacy by businesses, governmental agencies and individuals.
Technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo collect information about users, their habits, their activities and other data with every click. Sometimes these companies protect their users' private information but typically only when it is profitable to do so. These companies make billions of dollars by selling the data and customer profiles that they have mined to marketing agencies and other businesses.
The extent to which the U.S. government abuses information technology has been hotly debated since the release of information by a contractor in 2013 regarding just some of the abusive activities perpetrated by the National Security Agency. Not only was the agency collecting unauthorized cellphone communication information on millions of Americans, but personnel at the agency were also using the information collected to spy on spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends.
Information technology can also be abused when it is used to store and disseminate illegal material, such as child pornography, child abuse videos and even copyright protected or private material like music and videos.