Sunday, November 27, 2005

Personal Data Privacy And Security Act of 2005

Now my emotions and my rationale are torn between having access to great marketing and real estate data on the one hand, and the fear of an invasion into my (and others) personal life on the other. If I could wave my magic wand and have instant access to household-level credit card expenditures, my initial response would be excitement and a desire to see how different expenditures were distributed. (If you follow this blog, please do not be turned off by this.) It would not be until a few heartbeats later that I would question whether I had the right to investigate this data.

The Personal Data Privacy And Security Act of 2005 (PDF full-text of S. 1789) was just approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and moves forward to Senate hearings. This brings the issue to the forefront for me.

Via: beSpacific

Of interest to me is 'Title II - Data Brokers', beginning on page 15. Here is a snippet that I found interesting.
"A data broker shall, upon request of an individual, disclose to such individual for a reasonable fee all personal electronic records pertaining to that individual..."
So, I will have to pay a reasonable (??) fee to find out what information companies have about me?

Also of interest is 'Title III - Privacy and Security of Personally Identifiable Information', beginning on page 25. This states that the individual protections provided under this Title are only enforceable if a business maintains personal information on at least 10,000 Americans. This seems to be a large loophole as smaller communities can be left unprotected.

'Title IV - Government Access to and Use of Commercial Data' (p. 54) stipulates (gosh, these words just seem to come out of nowhere when writing about legal matters) that federal agencies may acquire personal data from a data broker if the agency: (1) completes a privacy impact statement, and (2) adopt regulations that specify how the data will be handled. It will be interesting to see whether we (the public) may access these statements and regulations.

2 comments:

Vector One said...

These are real issues that everyone handling spatial data pertaining to people should be concerned with.

The conditions you outline with respect to having access to your own personal information is a common policy where governments are accountable to citizens.

The cost issue is basically designed to avoid frivolous record retrieving - as I understand it.

So if you want to know, for example, what any government agency has in the way of information, a small fee will obtain it.

Demographic information is very persuading and powerful. This raises a side issue. If you were handling demographic information, how would you know if it were collected illegally and what is your duty then?

What if you wanted to make a whole neighborhood 'poor' or 'rich' - 'clean' or 'polluted'? This all rings a bell - Mark Monmonier, the author, spoke about 'How to Lie with Maps'.

Girish Gangadharan said...

Wow...May be you should do a workshop about this Josh. Discuss about the issues of invasion of privacy.