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Privacy For Policy-Makers
In 1998, Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to protect kids who are using the Internet from aggressive marketing techniques. In a nutshell, commercial web sites that target children cannot collect personal information from kids under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent.
The 1998 E.U. Data Protection Directive says that personal data can only be transferred to third countries that provide “adequate protection.” The existence of a fairly aggressive privacy regime in the European Union creates problems for American multinational firms operating in both markets.
The landmark Financial Modernization Act of 1999 breaks down most of the regulatory barriers separating the banking, insurance, and investment industries. It also includes a number of financial privacy provisions that went into force in 2001.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) directs the federal government to create new regulations governing the privacy of health care information. On Dec. 28, 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services published in the final rule creating new federal privacy rights for personal health information.
The Total Information Awareness (TIA) program is run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a branch of the Department of Defense that works on military research. TIA’s goal is to collect as much information as possible about as many people as possible into an “ultra-large-scale” database. TIA might incorporate government records of all kinds, individual medical and financial records, political beliefs, travel history, prescriptions, buying habits, communications (phone calls, e-mails and Web surfing), school records, personal and family associations, and more.