Information Policy


For the next hundred years liberals and conservatives will engage in numerous political disputes over the proper formulation of information policy. A recent example was the dispute over requiring firms to give workers sixty days notice before closing a plant1. Numerous factors will intensify the conflict. First, in an increasingly complex interdependent political economy, the information desired for decision making is frequently held by others. Second, in a highly regulated political economy, observations must be made to determine the behavior of the political economy in order to more rationally regulate the behavior. Finally, the rapid advance of information-processing technology is creating new conflicts between privacy and efficiency not addressed by common law or statute. As information processing technology advances, resolutions of the conflicts between efficiency, science, privacy, and property rights must be constantly reconsidered. Because most groups in society are affected by the resolutions, information policy is and will become even more contentious.


Decision Maker Database Manager Negative Information Blind Signature Trade Secret 
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Notes and References 7

  1. 2.
    Taylor, T., 1955, Grand Inquest, (Simon and Schuster: New York)Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Wilcox, Clair, 1960, Public Policy Toward Business, (Richard D. Irwin, Inc.: Homewood, Illinois)Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Gellhorn, W., C. Byse and P. Strauss, 1979, Administrative Law, (The Foundation Press, Inc.: Mineola)Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    The information policy concerning various consumer credit legislation is contained in: Redden, K. R. and J. McClellan, 1982, Federal Regulation of Consumer-Credit Relations, (The Michie Company: Charlottesville)Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See P. Strauss, 1979, Administrative Law, (The Foundation Press, Inc.: Mineola) reference 4.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Stevenson, R. B. Jr, 1980, Corporations and Information, (The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore)Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Prosser, W. L., 1960, Privacy, 48, California Law Review, 383. Professor Prosser’s ideas are incorporated into Restatement (Second) of Torts.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    For a summary see: Freedman, W., 1987, The Right of Privacy in the Computer Age, (Quorum Books: New York) 11. For a discussion of the conflict between efficiency and privacy in the sense of being able to withhold information see: Posner, R., 1981, The Economics of Justice, (Harvard University Press: Cambridge)Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Chrysler attempted to block the release of employment data under FOIA. See: Chrysler Corporation V. Brown, 99 Sup. Ct. 1705 (1979). The economic incentive for this action in discussed in reference 4.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    An individual does not reveal his or her identity electronically when using a blind signature. See: Chaum, David, 1992, Achieving Electronic Privacy, Scientific American, Aug, pp 96–101. This raises the cost of obtaining the information by other means and in many cases the cost would be prohibitive.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Staff, 1980, Statistical Policy Working Paper 6, Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, US Department of Commerce.Google Scholar

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

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