Intersections of Law and Technology in Balancing Privacy Rights with Free Information Flow

C. Johnson and R. Agrawal (USA)


Privacy, access controls, auditing, information flow


Technological advances in information collection and analysis have created a conflict between individual privacy rights and society’s interest in free information flow. The increased availability of information offers great benefits to scientific research, business intelligence, and national security. However, individuals are losing control of their personal information, as their medical, financial, and consumer records are often disseminated without their knowledge or consent. Current data protection laws do not strike the proper balance between these compelling interests, while existing information systems are not designed to provide adequate privacy safeguards. Thus, technologists and legislators must work together to create an effective modern privacy regime. In this paper, we demonstrate how technologists can design systems to protect individual privacy throughout the data lifecycle. We also describe how technology-aware legislators can structure laws to limit privacy abuses without obstructing beneficial uses of information.

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