Over the past decade the world has gotten much smaller due to the electronic communication the Internet has fostered. While this promotes business and international relations, problems arise regarding the protection of individuals’ personal information. Many countries around the world have developed privacy policies and laws protect an individual's information in the realm of electronic communication. Universal enforcement gets complicated because the Internet is not restricted to one country; it’s worldwide. As a result, concerns arise regarding the compatibility of various countries' privacy policies. This paper will discuss the current legislation in place for various major countries1, the existing conflicts between these countries’ policies and the implications these conflicts hold for the protection of privacy on the Internet.
To begin, consider how countries handle the privacy of individuals in general, not exclusively in the electronic environment. Most countries around the world protect an individual’s right to privacy in some respects, because “privacy is a fundamental human right that has become one of the most important human rights of the modern age”2. Definitions for privacy vary according to context and environment. For example, in the United States Justice Louis Brandeis defined privacy as the “right to be left alone”3. In the United Kingdom, privacy is “the right of an individual to be protected against intrusion into his personal life or affairs…by direct physical means or by publication of information”4. Australian legislation states that “privacy is a basic human right and the reasonable expectation of every person”5. Regardless of varying definitio...
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20 Cranor 29.
21 Country Reports 22.
22 Privacy Act of 2003. Wesley C. Maness. 23 October 2003.
23 Wesley Maness slide 48.
24 Privacy and Human Rights 2003: Overview 9.
25 Privacy and Human Rights 2003: Overview 9.
26 TRUSTe Unveils European Union Safe Harbor Privacy Seal Program. Dave Steer. 1 November 2003.
27 Privacy and Human Rights 2003: Overview 10.
28 Privacy and E-Government: Privacy Impact Assessments and Privacy Commissioners – Two Mechanisms for Protecting Privacy to Promote Citizen Trust Online. Paige Anderson and Jim Dempsey. 1 May 2003.http://www.privacyinternational.org/survey/phr2002/ page 1.
29 Privacy and E-Government 3.
30 Privacy and E-Government 7.
31 Privacy and E-Government 7.
32 Privacy and E-Government 7.
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