Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Federal Council Recommends Fair Information Practices in U.S. Privacy Law

The National Research Council has issued a voluminous report calling for sweeping changes in U.S. attitudes and approaches toward information privacy, by businesses and government. Essentially it calls for a more comprehensive, European or Canadian approach to information privacy.

The report is titled "Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age." To read about the report, go here:
To buy a copy of the full report, or read a summary of the report, go here and go to "Download Free":

This may be the most authoritative and respected federal body to issue such recommendations. In fact, given their mandate, and the nature of the issues they were addressing, their their recommendations are not all that surprising.

The report is likely to provoke discussion, and probably prompt some action at the margins. Nevertheless, it is not likely that we are going to see great changes in private sector practices or federal law as result of this report.

My description of their recommendations based on a reading of the Executive Summary:

* Application of Fair Information Practices by businesses when collecting and using personal information.

* Greater individual control over use of their personal information.

* Individual choice and consent of the use of their information.

* Mechanisms for choice and consent which genuinely inform the individual, and genuinely demonstrate their true desires regarding privacy, taking into account then tendency not to opt-out.

* Greater specific federal regulation of businesses which gather personal information on people.

* A Federal Privacy Commissioner or Privacy Commission.

* State and local privacy commissioners.

* Greater government action to protect individual information privacy.


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