“Information superhighway” advisory committee recommends tough privacy restrictions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A working group of an advisory committee on the National Information Infrastructure has drafted recommendations that could require anyone who receives e-mail to get the informed consent of any persons mentioned in the e-mail before conveying that information to anyone else.
The draft proposes strict privacy standards for “any information that could be uniquely associated with the individual to whom it pertains.” It defines information privacy as “the ability of the individual to control the use and dissemination of information that relates to himself or herself.”
The draft proposals go far beyond the requirements of the federal Privacy Act which protects individuals from some governmental misuse of information about them. The Privacy Act gives individuals the right to access information the government holds in files retrievable by name or personal identifier and to amend inaccuracies. Amendments to the Act limit the government’s ability to retrieve and match personal information regarding one individual from different government databases.
The proposals under review by the working group allow individuals to personally review, challenge and correct inaccurate information in any transaction on the NII. If an individual provides information about himself or herself for any reason for any use on NII, that individual must give “informed consent” before that information could be used for an unrelated purpose or be disclosed to anyone else.
The working group which developed the draft, called Mega Project III, will consider and vote on the issues at a public meeting on January 25 and relay recommendations to the U.S. Advisory Council on the NII the next day.