Abstract - The Information Society 2 (3)

Policy Aspects of Privacy and Access/Comments

Willis H Ware and George B Trubow

The development of policies and legislation on the protection of individual privacy in record keeping is reviewed. The dominant thrust of privacy policies has been: 1. to ensure that individuals are aware of, have access to, and can prevent improper disclosure of their private records, and 2. to restrict government access to and use of personal information. However, as illustrated by the case of electronic mail, new information and communication technologies that permit the collection and dissemination of personal information are not fully covered by privacy legislation. Thus, technological change is adding new dimensions to the privacy issue. The challenge for privacy policy in the face of new technologies will be to ensure that information resources are exploited for the benefit of all, without loss of individual protection. Trubow comments that policy initiatives should include government study and interdisciplinary dialogue on the impacts of new technology on individual privacy. Uniform state privacy legislation is needed.

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