A Cyber Age Privacy Doctrine

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)


A privacy doctrine built for the cyber age must address a radical change in the type and scale of violations that the nation—and the world—face, namely that the greatest threats to privacy come not at the point that personal information is collected, but rather from the secondary uses of such information. Court cases such as Katz, Berger, Smith, Karo, Knotts, Kyllo—and most recently Jones—concern whether the initial collection of information was legal. They do not address the fact that legally obtained personal information may nevertheless be used later to violate privacy and that the ways such information is stored, combined with other pieces of information (“collated”), analyzed, and distributed often entail very significant violations of privacy.1 Whereas a considerable number of laws and court cases cover these secondary usages of information, they do not come together as a coherent doctrine of privacy—and most assuredly they do not address the unique challenges of the cyber age.2


Personal Information Secondary Usage Sensitive Information License Plate Fourth Amendment 
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© Amitai Etzioni 2015

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  • Amitai Etzioni

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