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Privacy in America, Four Years after September 11

Professor Peter P. Swire

September 24, 2005

Presented by John Glenn Scholar in Public Policy Research
Moritz College of Law of The Ohio State University

The rise of the Internet, and the American public’s consequent concern about uses of their personal data, led to major privacy initiatives in the late 1990’s. Professor Swire served as President Clinton’s Chief Counselor for Privacy from 1999 until early 2001. In that role, he was the White House coordinator for the HIPAA medical privacy rule and chaired a White House Working Group on how to update electronic surveillance law for the Internet age. The creation of new privacy rules abruptly ceased after the attacks of September 11. Congress passed the Patriot Act in the weeks following the attacks. Now, four years after the attacks, we are in a position to assess the conflicting impulses for information sharing, in the name of fighting terrorism, and information control, in the name of privacy and data security. Professor Swire will discuss important themes that arise from these conflicting impulses, and propose principles for going forward.

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