The author suggests that the argument "a computer is different" is mythology in many instances and acts to obscure major issues that center around the use of computers. He relates this argument to both privacy, the transborder data flow situation, and to a variety of national vulnerability questions that have been raised by a Swedish report. He suggests that we need a general umbrella under which such diverse things as electronic fund transfer systems, electronic mail systems, and point-of-sale systems can legally protect personal information. He further suggests that there are technological or other answers to such national vulnerabilities as communication circuits passing through many countries, sensitive national databases, physical vulnerability of individual computing centers, and manipulation of national data systems by a foreign country.
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.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
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.