SINGLE FEDERAL LAW IS BEST APPROACH
SINGLE LAWS REGARDING PRIVACY ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PROTECT THE INDIVIDUAL
Fred H. Cate, Brookings Institution, 1997; PRIVACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE, EE2001 -mfp p. 12 0
The advantages of a single law are that it facilitates more uniform protection; it avoids definitional problems in crafting sectoral statutes; it eliminates the potential for conflicting inter pretations of overlapping laws; and it emerges from a process that is likely to facilitate more thoughtful and comprehensive debate. On the other hand, an omnibus law runs the risk of imposing a one-size-fits-all legislative solution on diverse issues that occur in a wide variety of distinct contexts, thereby creating too little or too much protection in specific situations. A single law may need to be supplemented with other laws designed to address specific situations or types of information or may require separate administrative agencies to craft divergent regulations for implementing that law in the sectors they regulate. The result could easily be as much inconsistency as would result from secto ral protection from the outset. Finally, broad-ranging laws are often politically controversial and difficult to move through Con gress because of the many interests affected. This is why Con gress only infrequently rewrites comprehensive laws, such as the Copyright Act (completely revised in 1909 and again in 1976), preferring instead to rely on specific amendments, even those that fundamentally alter the underlying law.