Privatizing Information and Information Technology – Whose Life is it Anyway?


Ellen Dannin


VOL. XXII • Winter 2004 • NO. 2 (table of contents)

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As the United States government collects personal and private information about each of us, the government must also consider ways of preventing that information from falling into the wrong hands. In the wrong hands, that information can be turned against the individual – from blackmailing to more nefarious acts, such as terrorism. However, the government trend of outsourcing information gathering tasks has dramatically increased the chances of the wrong people receiving sensitive information.

The government has been outsourcing information gathering tasks because of their failure to develop sufficient in-house expertise to handle information gathering. A second reason is that some in the government believe it should separate itself from functions, such as information gathering, that are not viewed as core governmental functions.

This article discusses what makes information so special and whether information in private rather than public hands is likely to create special problems. Finally, the article discusses whether there are ways to prevent or remedy problems that arise.

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