Privacy in the Information Age

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Electronic information networks offer extraordinary advantages to business, government, and individuals in terms of power, capacity, speed, accessibility, and cost. But these same capabilities present substantial privacy issues. With an unprecedented amount of data available in digital format, others know more about you than ever before.

Data routinely collected includes your health, credit, marital, educational, and employment histories; the times and telephone numbers of every call you make and receive; the magazines you subscribe to and the books your borrow from the library; your cash'"withdrawals; your purchases by credit card or check; where you go on the Internet.

Governments have responded to these new challenges to personal privacy in a wide variety of ways. At one extreme, the European Union in 1995 enacted sweeping regulation to protect personal information; at the other extreme, privacy law in the United States and many other countries is fragmented, inconsistent, and offers little protection for privacy on the Internet and other electronic networks.

For all the passion that surrounds discussions about privacy, surprisingly little consensus exists about what privacy means, what values are served -- or compromised -- by extending further legal protection, and what principles should undergird a sensitive balancing of those values.

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Editorial Reviews

Addresses issues of privacy in the context of computerized information, overviewing technologies and legal issues. Defines elements of privacy and their values and costs, compares privacy regulations in Europe and the US, and identifies principles for protecting information privacy. Principles recognize the significance of individual and collective nongovernmental action, the limited role of government enforcement, and the ultimate goal of establishing multinational principles for protecting information privacy. Includes appendices of documents and guidelines. For general readers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

"Professor Fred H. Cate does a remarkable job of outlining the status quo between the continents and exploring the varying approaches to dealing with privacy concerns.... Law libraries should buy this book because it is a comprehensive overview of the privacy concerns in the electronic society." —Mary Elizabeth Hadad, Suffolk University Law and Technology Program, Bimonthly Review of Law Books, 3/1/2001

"Privacy in the Information Age is a breath of fresh air in a debate that heretofore has viewed privacy in America the way George Kennan once viewed the Soviets, as something desperately in need of government containment. Hopefully Fred Cate's book will sober those who would erect expensive, intrusive European-like bureaucracies to do a job that consumer freedom and open markets will always do better." —Duncan MacDonald, General Counsel, Citibank Bankcards

"No new inventaion arrives without a mixture of advantages and disadvantages. New electronic information networks combine immediate blessings with the risk of a long-term loss of privacy. Fred Cate, one of our nation's most talented young legal scholars, penetrates this dilemma and suggests ways to balance the good and bad in our information revolution." —Newton N. Minow, Sidney and Austin, and Former Chair, Federal Communications Commission

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815713159
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred H. Cate is professor of law and Ira C. Batman Faculty Fellow at the Indiana University School of Law, Bloominton, and is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Electronic Information Networks 5
3 Privacy 19
4 Privacy Regulation in Europe 32
5 Privacy Regulation in the United States: The Public Sector 49
6 Privacy Regulation in the United States: The Private Sector 80
7 Electronic Privacy in the Twenty-First Century 101
App. A The European Union Directive 133
App. B The Privacy Principles of the Information Infrastructure Task Force 177
App. C General Discussion 195
Bibliography 207
Notes 215
Index 241
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