The state of privacy in the digital age

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly unbounded options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries; online practices of businesses and government agencies present new ways to compromise privacy; and e-commerce and technologies that permit individuals to find personal information about each other only begin to hint at the possibilities.

Against this backdrop, CSTB believed that the time was ripe for a deep, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary examination of privacy in the information age: how are the threats to privacy evolving, how can privacy be protected, and how can society balance the interests of individuals, businesses, and government in ways that promote privacy reasonably and effectively?

The report provides ways to think about privacy, its relationship to other values, and related tradeoffs and provides an in-depth look at ongoing information technology trends as related to privacy concerns. By doing so, the report is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the many issues that play a part in privacy and contribute to the analysis of issues involving privacy. Perhaps most importantly, the report seeks to raise awareness of the web of connectedness among the actions we take, the policies we pass, and the expectations we change.

Abstract from the report, Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age published by the National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. Coverage from


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Filed under Privacy, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room

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