Volume 10, 1999
Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting
Christopher J. Allen
Privacy and the Internet
A New Political Frontier for American Business
The vast potential of e-commerce and the digital age are prompting American businesses to test the power of new computer technologies in a number of ways, all of which depend on the free flow of information. While American business is leading the world in pioneering new Web-based products and services, some of its more aggressive approaches to collecting sensitive information are running into legal and political objections, and threatening long-held privacy values. While policy makers in the U.S. have generally not intervened on this issue, the European Union last year issued a sweeping data directive which governs the collection and dissemination of a wide range of information. This paper explores the implications of the EU’s Data Directive and other recent events as they relate to corporate political strategy and the evolving privacy debate in the United States.