The fair information principles: a comparison of U.S. and Canadian Privacy Policy as applied to the private sector

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Title: The fair information principles: a comparison of U.S. and Canadian Privacy Policy as applied to the private sector
Author: Crounse, Shane
Abstract: U.S. consumers are worried about their privacy and their personal information. High profile cases of identity theft involving companies losing the private information of hundreds of thousands of customers have only served to elevate the mistrust consumers have for companies that collect and share their personal information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with protecting U.S. consumers from fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace; a task made difficult by an overarching need to balance the rights of the individuals against the security needs of the country and the free flow of information required by a free market economy. The FTC has asked U.S. companies to follow the Fair Information Practices developed by the U.S. government in 1973, but does not require adherence to those standards. In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) was passed in 2000 to address the similar privacy concerns of their consumers. PIPEDA is based on the Fair Information Principles and requires that companies implement those principles. The Privacy Policy Rating System (PPRS) has been developed for this thesis as a method of rating company privacy policies for how they compare to the Fair Information Principles. Using both the PPRS content analysis technique and a standard stakeholder analysis technique, company privacy policies in both countries are examined to address the question of which government's privacy policy is doing a better job of achieving the Fair Information Principles. The lessons learned in this comparison are used to formulate policy recommendations to improve U.S. privacy policy for better adherence among U.S. companies to the Fair Information Principles.
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Date: 2009-01

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