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A Call for Shared Responsibility for Preserving Individual Privacy

04 October 2010

From a guest blog by Hogan Lovells Privacy and Information Management leader Christopher Wolf on The Last Watchdog

Whose job is it to protect the privacy of personal information? That is the burning question in Washington these days.

Privacy is receiving so much attention right now not just because of headlines about Facebook and Google and their privacy missteps, but because we live in a time when people are sharing volumes of information about themselves and others on social networks, and when technology that can collect, share, analyze and store information about people is advancing at a staggering pace.

Think geo-tracking, behavioral-targeted advertising, and sensors collecting data about us connected to the Internet.

So who should be protecting our privacy? Some say that the government should finally pass a comprehensive privacy law that strictly regulates the collection and use of data.

Others say that companies using personal data have a responsibility to protect privacy, but should not be shackled by one-size-fits-all laws and regulations, lest economic progress on the Internet – one of the few bright spots in the economy – be stifled.

And then there are those who say people should be smart enough to protect themselves by being careful about what information they share online.

So who is right? They all are right.

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