Discusses the role of the technologist in the matter of privacy. Ultimately, computer people will have to decide what safeguards to put in place. The author urges the responsible technologist to understand the intent and thrust of privacy laws, and extend himself toward the policymaker. The first few years of responding to new laws may be very exciting as managements struggle to make their recordkeeping practices conform to the intent of the law. In the private sector, recordkeeping practices vary widely from industry to industry, as do opportunities for misuse of records. The Privacy Protection Study Commission has concluded that no omnibus set of recommendations can cover such diverse problems. Its recommendations call for amendments to existing laws, notably the Federal Credit Reporting Act; enactment of some new legislation; and compliance through existing regulatory mechanisms at the state level.
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