20 May 2014

Data privacy, or information privacy, concerns the collection, protection and dissemination of personal or private information about individuals or organisations. While legal standards protecting data privacy vary greatly around the world there are some accepted norms, such as the right to cast a vote in a national election without being identified. Many developed nations have adopted specific legislation that relates to privacy in certain parts of public life, such as a person’s healthcare records. The increasing scope of the internet has raised many new data privacy issues.

 

data privacy in the news

Data privacy became big news In May 2013 when a former employee of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former contractor for the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, leaked thousands of classified documents to several media outlets.

In May 2014, Google lost a landmark case over the limits of data privacy in Europe, leaving it obliged to remove personal information appearing on its search engines under certain circumstances. Essentially the ruling meant that individuals could request the erasure of information about them displayed on Google search engines. The case was brought by a Costeja Gonzalez, a Spanish national, who asked Google to delete links relating to a time when his house was being auctioned because he failed to pay taxes. Google had argued that it was not responsible for information published legally elsewhere.

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