Global Privacy Protection

Global Privacy Protection

The First Generation

Edited by James B. Rule

Global Privacy Protection reviews the origins and history of national privacy codes as social, political and legal phenomena in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, South Korea and the United States. The first chapter reviews key international statements on privacy rights, such as the OECD, EU and APEC principles. In the following chapters, the seven national case studies present and analyze the widest variety of ‘privacy stories’ in an equally varied array of countries. They look beyond the details of what current national data-protection laws allow and prohibit to examine the origins of public concern about privacy; the forces promoting or opposing privacy codes; the roles of media, grassroots activists and elite intervention; and a host of other considerations shaping the present state of privacy protection in each country.


James B. Rule

Subjects: law - academic, information and media law, politics and public policy, public policy


James B. Rule Public issues are like living creatures. They have life-cycles – beginnings, middles and (eventually) ends. Issues are typically the offspring of non-issues: things that people once considered trivial, normal or inevitable, but which they redefine as unacceptable, even intolerable, and susceptible to change. Very often these transitions into issue-hood are the work of social movements that publicize and condemn what they hold to be scandalous conditions – as in the public definition of sexual harassment as a condition requiring remedial action in law and policy. Other issues ‘just grow’, as people come to agree even without exhortation that certain conditions, perhaps of long standing, are no longer acceptable. Whatever their origins, public issues are defined by their contested nature – their acknowledged status as matters on which people have to take stands for or against change. This book traces the birth and early history of privacy, and the need for its protection, as a public issue. Privacy is an inexact term, one that gets applied to a variety of related concerns. We focus here on controversies over the fate of personal data held by government and private institutions in conventional or computerized files. Since roughly the 1960s, such privacy concerns have risen to the state of issue-hood in virtually all the world’s democracies. At stake are such questions as what personal information institutions may collect, where and how it can be stored, who can gain access to it, and what actions can be taken on its basis. Spurring these concerns...