POL: Privacy

Ross A. Finlayson (RAF@tomco.net)
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:38:37 -0500

Hello again,

Today I'm writing about privacy and the sovereignty of personal data. To some extent, privacy is a right, to the extent that others using it is an infringment of rights.

Privacy is a broad issue, affecting many diverse areas.

For a summary of my views on privacy rights, note:


Over the past ten years or so, legislation has been introduced that concerns privacy. One of my favorites so far is the Privacy Protection Act of 1993, but not necessarily those of other years. This can be found online at http://thomas.loc.gov/.

Each of us, every day, has some of our personal data used without our knowledge. This is how they e- or postal mail tax forms, which is a requirement of citizenship, and how they send anonymous bulk e-mail, which is an invasion of privacy. Taxation without representation is unconstitutional, but that is a different topic.

Your personal data is in the hands of myriad diverse parties that have absolutely no qualms to use it however they would, and no right to it.

One thing I advocate is some kind of "privacy preference profile." Using such an item (prototypes exist), one could select what data to share with these obnoxious marketers, and then they could pay you for the privilege of using your personal data.

I would like to open discussion on this, and ask what others think can be done to protect privacy and the ownership of personal data by individuals.

Ross F.

Ross Andrew Finlayson
"C is the speed of light."