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Summary

The need for protection from legal attacks has never been greater than it is today. Providing privacy safeguards conflicts in many cases with individual, business, and government needs. The legitimate need governments and business have to use consumer information and the need of consumers to protect their privacy and confidentiality require legal and technological protections. Consumers are threatened by privacy invasion because they are not the “data owner” after they have submitted information to the black void that is business, government, and the Internet. Consumers have nothing to say about the use of information they have given about themselves or that has been collected about them and can never take that information out of circulation. Consumers also have no control over the data sources; the categories of data maintained; or the organizational policies and practices regarding data storage and protection by individuals, businesses, and governments. These three threats to your information have not identified a focal point to which complaints should be issued, have not taken positive steps to address violations of privacy, and have not been proactive in confirming the security and controls of partners or affiliates who receive your information and maintained detailed records of what happens to your information.

To better protect consumers from legal threats to their personal information, the right of refusal should be given to the consumer if possible. You do not have to hand over all your personal information every time you buy something or use a service. Consumers also should be informed about how their information will be used. The policies and procedures that govern how data is managed should be clearly stated before consumers are made to submit information. After data is collected, consumers should have the opportunity to inspect the record, challenge it, and make corrections. If the information is used for reasons other than the stated purpose, some practical punishments should be enforced. Tied closely to enforcement is the capability to monitor how consumer information is used and to detect violations of policies and procedures.


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