Public policy aspects for an information age

by Willis H. Ware


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback9 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Discusses the computer's role as a recordkeeper for information about people and implications for an individual's privacy. At present the intersection between information needs of modern society and computer technology in a legally unconstrained setting has led to a situation in which vast amounts of personal information exists in record systems and there are many opportunities for abuse and misuse. The Privacy Act of 1974 is an omnibus approach extending citizen privileges to all federal record systems. It also created the Privacy Protection Study Commission which has held hearings on all major types of systems: research/statistical, employment, personnel, medical, insurance, depository, and credit. It deals with the basic question of how to construct a framework--partly legal, partly voluntary code compliance, partly professional ethics, partly administrative procedures, partly insurance--that will permit exploitation of computers for the benefit of all while assuring that no one is treated unfairly or harmed by a record system.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.