THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CURRENTLY ENACT NEW PRIVACY REGULATIONS TO PROTECT CITIZENS
DESPITE CONSIDERATION OF NEW PRIVACY LEGISLATION, CONGRESS APPROVED ONLY 1 OF OVER 100 BILLS TO PROTECT PRIVACY
David Banisar and Simon Davies, Deputy Director of Privacy International (PI) and Director General of Privacy International and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, "GLOBAL TRENDS IN PRIVACY PROTECTION: AN INTERNATIONAL SURVEY OF PRIVACY, DATA PROTECTION, AND SURVEILLANCE LAWS AND DEVELOPMENTS," The John Marhall Journal of Computer & Information Law , Fall, 1999, 18 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 1, EE2001-JGM, P.
There has been significant debate in the United States in recent years about the development of privacy laws covering the private sector. Over 100 bills on privacy protection were introduced in the previous Congress, including laws on genetic and medical records, Internet privacy, children's privacy and other issues. Only a provision on collecting personal information from children on the Internet was approved. n697 The current position of the White House and private sector is that self-regulation is sufficient and that no new laws should be enacted except for a limited measure on medical information. There are currently efforts in Congress to improve financial privacy by prohibiting banks from selling personal information of customers without permission, but the proposal is strongly opposed by the banking industry.
GOVERNMENT IS ACTUALLY PREVENTING PASSAGE OF PRIVACY PROTECTION
Nadine Strossen, law professor at New York Law School AND president of the American Civil Liberties Union, PANEL DISCUSSION: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES TO PRIVACY RIGHTS, New York Law School Law Review , 1999, 43 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 195, EE2001-JGM, P.204
Far from protecting individuals against privacy invasions by private sector actors, our national government has instead been playing exactly the opposite role, in a couple of ways.
First, the government has been barring private action that would enhance or protect our privacy - notably, preventing the software industry from developing and marketing strong encryption technology. Worse yet, the government has actually been forcing telecommunications industries to tailor their equipment to enable the government to spy on their customers. This was done, for example, by the notorious "CALEA" Act (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) passed in 1994. n31 It literally requires the telephone companies to restructure digital telephony to facilitate government spying. The same thing was done a few years ago with respect to cellular technology. Specifically, the National Security Agency used export control laws to pressure telephone companies to "dumb down" encryption for cellular calls. The analogy would be if the government were requiring everybody in the construction industry who is building homes or apartments to install bugs in the walls of our residences to facilitate government spying. That is exactly what the government is doing with these new technologies.
THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING ACTION TO INCREASE PRIVACY BUT IT NOT ENOUGH
Ann Cavoukian, Ph. D, Info. and Privacy Commission in Ontario, and Don Tapscott, Alliance for Converging Technologies, 1997; WHO KNOWS, EE 2001 mfp p. 107
Developing voluntary privacy codes is certainly a step in the right direction, but it might not be enough. Credit-reporting practices in the United States are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, while in Canada they are regulated provincially by consumer-reporting acts, yet these do not contain protections equal to privacy laws. Credit-reporting laws theoretically permit credit information to be disclosed only to prescribed parties such as employers and insurance companies or businesses with permissible purposes (such as credit evaluation or granting of licenses). Consequently, there is a lot of room for maneuvering. For example, credit information can be shared widely with uncategorized parties who have " other business needs involving a transaction with a consumer" or "business transactions involving consumers,"
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PREFERS INTERNET SELF REGULATION ON PRIVACY
JOHN LABATE and PATTI WALDMEIR The Financial Times Limited Financial Times (London) January 29, 2000, SECTION: COMMENT & ANALYSIS; Pg. 15 TITLE: COMMENT & ANALYSIS: They know everything about you// acs-EE2001
Everyone agrees on the risks involved - but not on how to cope with them. The White House and federal government believe the online industry should police itself, not least because the law is likely to prove too slow and inflexible to do so. So government has restricted itself to encouraging web companies to adopt privacy policies, which reveal how they use information gathered online.
BECAUSE OF THE BIAS TOWARDS SELF-REGULATION OVER CENTRALIZATION, THE US HASN'T LEGISLATED A FULL SET OF PRIVACY STANDARDS
Joel R. Reidenberg, Professor of Law and Director of Graduate Program Academic Affairs, Fordham University School of Law, " Restoring Americans' Privacy in Electronic Commerce," Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Spring, 1999, 14 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 771, EE2001-JGM, P. 771
The United States, however, has rejected all attempts to legislate any full set of standards. n10 Rather, Congress and state legislatures have enacted isolated and narrow statutes such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act n11 and the Video Privacy Protection Act, n12 after the discovery of particularly scandalous practices. This type of statutory protection only covers the particular activities committed by specific actors such as a consumer credit reporting agency or a video rental service provider. This reactive policy for fair information practices has historically been predicated on the philosophy that self-regulation will accomplish the most meaningful protection of privacy without intrusive government interference, and with the greatest flexibility for dynamically developing technologies. The theory holds that the marketplace will protect privacy because the fair treatment of personal information is valuable to consumers; in other words, industry will seek to protect personal information in order to gain consumer confidence and maximize profits. n13