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Home > Privacy and Government > Current Issues: > IG Web Privacy Studies

IG Web Privacy Studies

Government privacy policies should be more restrictive than those governing the private sector because of the unique role of governments. If a private sector business or Web site displeases consumers in any way, including privacy practices, consumers can use other resources. This is not true when citizens deal with their governments. There should be conspicuous disclosure of federal Web privacy policies, and appropriate limits placed on information collection by federal agencies.

In December, 2000, U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) added an amendment to the FY2001 Omnibus Appropriations Act that requires the Inspectors General at all federal agencies to report to Congress on how each department or agency collects or reviews personal information on its Web sites.

Governments are the most voracious collectors, users, and (sometimes) abusers of personal and private information. This amendment will help inform Congress and the public about the Web practices of government agencies. Unlike any private company, consumers and citizens must deal with government agencies, so mandatory privacy disclosures and regulations of information practices are appropriate.


Statement of Senator Thompson, Congressional Record, S11868 (December 15, 2000)

Section 646, Conference Report to H.R. 4577, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 (December 15, 2000)

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[updated 02/18/01]

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