Fair Information Practices

Even with companies not taking responsibilty for the accuracy of the information they sell and the difficulties of individual recourse, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) believes industry self-regulation is the best way to ensure fair information practices. The Code of Fair Information Practices (FIP) suggests to businesses how to self-regulate and is currently the closest thing the U.S. has to a data collection law.

But, of course, this not a law and is not legal binding.

The FIP is based on five principles:
  • There must be no personal data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.
  • There must be a way to find out what personal information is in a record and how it is used.
  • There must be a way to prevent personal information that was obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without consent.
  • There must be a way to correct or amend a record of personal identifiable information.
  • Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take precautions to prevent misuses of the data.

Jerry Berman, Executive Director of The Center For Democracy and Technology, states: "Bad actors will not self-regulate: the clueless or new on the scene may not have the resources or where-with-all to participate in regulating their own behavior. Law is critical to spreading the word and ensuring widespread compliance with fair, privacy protective standards...".

Related Matter


U.S. Trends:
Data Collection Explosion
Data Warehouses
Government-Business Connection
Operation Shamrock
Data Accuracy
Fair Information Practices
The MATRIX (Formerly TIA)
Secure Flight (Formerly CAPPS II)
Infragard, TIPS and Cat Eyes
The USA Patriot Act

Canada and Outside the U.S.