With the certainty that we are moving in the direction of have more and more information about our digital selves being collected – see this story on the new Intel chip (”These systems are likely to police copyright by watching who consumes what,” said Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel with the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center. ”There are grave consequences for privacy with these systems,”) – it is critical that we firmly assert our electronic privacy rights, including how that information flows across national borders.
The OEDC presented this “RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL CONCERNING GUIDELINES GOVERNING THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY AND TRANSBORDER FLOWS OF PERSONAL DATA” in 1980:
that, although national laws and policies may differ, Member countries have a common interest in protecting privacy and individual liberties, and in reconciling fundamental but competing values such as privacy and the free flow of information;
that automatic processing and transborder flows of personal data create new forms of relationships among countries and require the development of compatible rules and practices;
that transborder flows of personal data contribute to economic and social development;
that domestic legislation concerning privacy protection and transborder flows of personal data may hinder such transborder flows;
Determined to advance the free flow of information between Member countries and to avoid the creation of unjustified obstacles to the development of economic and social relations among Member countries;
That Member countries take into account in their domestic legislation the principles concerning the protection of privacy and individual liberties set forth in the Guidelines contained in the Annex to this Recommendation which is an integral part thereof;
That Member countries endeavour to remove or avoid creating, in the name of privacy protection, unjustified obstacles to transborder flows of personal data;
That Member countries co-operate in the implementation of the Guidelines set forth in the Annex;
That Member countries agree as soon as possible on specific procedures of consultation and co-operation for the application of these Guidelines.
….PART TWO. BASIC PRINCIPLES OF NATIONAL APPLICATION.
Collection Limitation Principle
7. There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.
Data Quality Principle
8. Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date.
Purpose Specification Principle
9. The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfilment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.
Use Limitation Principle
10. Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 9 except:
a) with the consent of the data subject; or
b) by the authority of law.
Security Safeguards Principle
11. Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.
12. There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.
Individual Participation Principle
13. An individual should have the right:
a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him;
b) to have communicated to him, data relating to him
within a reasonable time;
at a charge, if any, that is not excessive;
in a reasonable manner; and
in a form that is readily intelligible to him;
c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs(a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial; and
d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.
14. A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above.
Something to think about on 9/11.
IBM Fellow Rakesh Agrawal has proposed a a “Hippocratic database” based upon the Hippocratic oath that serves as the basis of doctor-patient relationships:
- “More and more databases are keeping personal and private information, and we are sort of relying on databases for our day-to-day existence,” said Agrawal, lead scientist on the project at the IBM Almaden Research Center, in San Jose, Calif. “If we don’t treat it with respect, people are going to get hurt.”
One tenet of the Hippocratic oath includes a statement on privacy that states, “… whatever I may see or hear … in the life of human beings … I will remain silent, holding such things to be unutterable.” The Hippocratic database concept hinges on this principle.
Hippocratic databases would negotiate the privacy of information exchanged between a consumer or individual and companies. The database owner would have a policy built into the database about storage and retrieval of personal information, and the database donor would be able to accept or deny it.
Each piece of data would have specifications of the database owner’s policies attached to it. The policy would specify the purpose for which information is collected, who can receive it, the length of time the data can be retained and those who are authorized to access it.
The increased ubiquity of the Internet and use of databases for data mining in marketing have led to the need for database systems that limit the type of data stored, how it is used and how long it is stored, researchers say. At the same time, regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, along with tough European Union privacy laws, are forcing companies to take privacy more seriously.