AFFIRMATIVE-SOLVENCY-INFORMATION OWNERSHIP PROPERTY RIGHT 25
PROPERTY REGULATION DOES NOT STOP IMPORTANT FLOWS OF INFORMATION
A PROPERTY RIGHT TO DATA WOULD NOT PREVENT ORGANIZATIONS FROM MAINTAINING USEFUL RECORDS
James Rule & Lawrence Hunter, Prof. of Sociology at SUNY-Stony Brook & Computer Scientist at (U.S.) National Library of Medicine, "Toward Property Rights in Personal Data," VISIONS OF PRIVACY: Policy Choices for the Digital Age, 1999, EE2001 -JGM P. 170
Such a right would constitute no obstacle to any organization's maintenance of any records of personal data collected from clients and customers. From American Express to the comer drug store, organizations would remain free to request and compile data from the persons they deal with. What the new right would constrain, however, is release of such information. Such release, for any commercial purpose, could only occur with the express permission of the data subject. The organization holding the data would have legal responsibility for determining that any release accorded with the instructions given by the data subject.
INDIVIDUALS MUST "OWN" INFORMATION ABOUT THEMSELVES IN ORDER TO HAVE A FREE INFORMATION SOCIETY
WILLIAM SAFIRE, The New York Times, May 1, 2000, SECTION: Section A; Page 23; TITLE: Essay; Consenting Adults // acs-EE2001
We privacy advocates yearn for a quite different kind of information society. This would be a world where we control our own information, rather than having it controlled by others. Our choices wouldn't be set out for us by whoever can afford to "rent" our eyeballs. The choices would be ours alone to make.
A world of this kind is entirely attainable. The obstacles to achieving it are by no means inherent in the technology. Instead, they arise from the imbalance of power between overweening, data-hungry organizations and beleaguered privacy-seeking individuals. That imbalance could readily be redressed by legislation guaranteeing individuals strong rights over their data. Such protections could include a sweeping prohibition of release of personal data without explicit permission from the individual involved. This principle is the rule today in the European Union.
Another measure would make all "private" citizens the owners of commercial data on themselves. At a minimum, any such protection should afford individuals the right to "just say no" to the appropriation of such data - preferably simply by not saying "yes."
Of all the world's liberal democracies, the United States is among the weakest in protections of this kind. If we want to realize the true promise of the information age, our legislators must ensure our privacy. "