data privacy (information privacy)

Data privacy, also called information privacy, is the aspect of information technology (IT) that deals with the ability an organization or individual has to determine what data in a computer system can be shared with third parties.

In the United States, legislation concerning data privacy has been enacted in a sectorial manner, which means that each law or compliance regulation has been created in response to the needs of a particular industry or section of the population.  Examples include: 

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) - ensures patient confidentiality for all healthcare-related data.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) - extends government restrictions on wire taps to include transmissions of electronic data.

Video Privacy Protection Act - prevents wrongful disclosure of an individual's personally identifiable information stemming from their rental or purchase of audiovisual material.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act - mandates how financial institutions must deal with the private information of individuals.

See also: consumer privacy, personally identifiable information, personally identifiable information financial information

This was last updated in June 2013

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