Privacy not doing well in America …….. either

October 22, 2010 |

It is hardly news that the law of privacy is a mish mash of poorly drafted legislation, timid regulation by our various commissioners and an all too slowly developing common law.  In the US, where there are privacy statutes, a well developed tort of privacy and constitutional recognition Electronic Privacy Information Centre has given the Obama Administration a very ordinary report card.

Here is the report card:

[2] Obama Administration Receives Harsh Reviews in 2010 Report Card

2010    2009
medical privacy         B       A-
cyber-security            B       B
consumer privacy     C       Incomplete
civil liberties                D       C+

In a special event as part of the Privacy 2010 Campaign, the Electronic
Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has released the 2010 Privacy Report
Card for the Obama Administration. The Report Card focuses on
developments over the past year in the areas of medical privacy, civil
liberties, consumer protection, and cyber-security.

The report card was formerly unveiled at the Mott House, on Capital
Hill. EPIC’s executive director, Marc Rotenberg, briefly discussed the
grades from 2009 and the rationale for the new marks. 2010 grades
include two B’s (medical privacy and cyber-security), a C (consumer
privacy), and a D (civil liberties). These were significant drops from
2009, when the Administration received an Incomplete (consumer
privacy), an A- (medical privacy), a B (cyber-security), and a C+ (civil

After the unveiling, a panel composed of privacy experts in each area
discussed their own views on the Administration. The panel included:
prominent consumer attorney Philip Friedman, Dr. Latanya Sweeney of
Carnegie Mellon University, Paul Smith from Jenner and Block, and
Georgetown’s Pablo G. Molina.

Following the presentations, guests asked questions and engaged the
speakers in a dialogue. When asked what they would like to see the
Administration do over the coming year to improve grades in 2011, each
panelist offered recommendations, such as the creation of private rights
of action for consumer privacy violations, cessation of the full body
scanner program, and the development of a more robust privacy

The Privacy Report Card is a tradition that EPIC started in 2009 to
raise awareness of how privacy issues are handled by the President and
his Administration. The Privacy 2010 Campaign encourages citizens to
question candidates on key privacy issues before the November elections

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