Digital Government and Individual Privacy

Digital Government and Individual Privacy

Patrick R. Mullen (U.S. General Accounting Office, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-122-3.ch009
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Abstract

The growth of the Internet and digital government has dramatically increased the Federal government’s ability to collect, analyze, and disclose personal information about many private aspects of citizens’ lives. Personal information once available only on paper to a limited number of people is now instantly retrievable anywhere in the world by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Over time, there has also been a declining level of trust by Americans in government, and currently, many perceive the government as a potential threat to their privacy. Given these forces at work in our society, one should not be surprised to read the results of surveys that show privacy as a top concern of citizens in the 21st century. If citizens do not believe that the government is adequately protecting the privacy of their individual information, they may be less willing to provide this information. Such reluctance could compromise the ability of government to collect important information necessary to develop, administer and evaluate the impact of various policies and programs. Privacy issues discussed in this chapter include challenges regarding (1) protecting personal privacy; (2) ensuring confidentiality of data collected; and (3) implementing appropriate security controls. Perspectives on privacy and stewardship responsibilities of agencies are also discussed.

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