State of the Privacy Act
An Overview of Technological and Social Science Developments
Describes the issue of privacy and the forces driving it. The present situation is: an organization uses information knowing that no right of individual ownership exists, and the individual has no legal standing to control the records. Moreover, information has no protection against court seizure. We need to create legal safeguards to get the privacy situation into better balance. The social goals that privacy safeguards will serve are (1) informed public; (2) balance between needs of government and industry, and rights of individual; (3) fair use of personal information; (4) minimize unnecessary information collection; and (5) minimize risk of an encompassing set of record systems linked together making usurpation possible. Some future issues to be resolved in public policy on information: (1) Do we need a right-of-ownership status for personal information? (2) Factual information needs to be distinguished from subjective and conjectural information. (3) Information collected to make a determination and with no perceived future need should be distinguished from information needing to be kept.
Presented to USC Conference, "Expanding the Right to Privacy: Research and Legislative Initiatives for the Future," October 1976, Washington, D.C.