Privacy In Demand

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Like most countries and especially the United States their inhabitants enjoy a certain level of privacy. People don’t generally want intimate information to be accessible to the public eye. In fact many people go to great lengths to hide everything about themselves. What exactly is the definition of privacy? Well, privacy is the expectation that confidential personal information disclosed in a private place will not be disclosed to third parties, when that disclosure would cause either embarassment or emotional distress to a person of reasonable sensitivities. This information includes facts, images (ex: photographs and videotapes), and disparaging opinions. When over zealous law enforcement officials demand access to telephone conversations, e-mail or other electronic communication they are violating the unwritten code of privacy. When organizations from the private sector purchase intimate information about medical records either for commercial purposes, or to challenge your insurance eligibility or employment suitability. Unfortunatly this is a common practice in the United States and it is wrong.
First of all, what does the government do to secure this private information? The answer is very little. There are bascially two different laws that effect privacy. These two laws are the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Freedom of Information act. At a first inspection the two laws seem to work against each other. In short the Privacy Act of 1974 keeps information in government records concerning individuals discreet. The Privacy Act of 1974 gives the individual the rights to see and copy files that the federal government maintains on him or her. It also gives the right to know who else has access to that information, and to request a change to any information that is not accurate. The most important part of this law is the fact that the government is not allowed to use any information for any purpose other than the one for which it was initially collected. This is important and will be addressed later on.
The Freedom of Information Act is used mostly to pry open government files. It was designed to help individuals obtain information about the actions of government. The law proclaims that any citizen is to be given access to government records unless the disclosure involves litigation, the CIA, personal m...

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... license from every state.” Basically this states that a mugshot data base will be created by virtually all non-criminals. This is a violation of privacy. When the DMV issued the driver’s license there was never any intent to create a mugshot from the information on the card. In 1992 The DPPA(Federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act) was created to make a nation mugshot database. This act authorized the sale of driver’s names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, digital signatures, and digital photographs to private companies for the purpose of making a registry of identifying information. Fortunatly, this act was ruled unconstitutional for it was in violation of the tenth amendment. However, before this act was ruled unconstitutional the state of South Carolina sold the complete contents of it driver’s license information for a mere five thousand dollars.
Now with the introduction of the internet it is becoming increasingly difficult to control the publication of personal and private information. Any information that is collected should not be used for any other purpose except for what it was originally accepted.
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