Electronic Bill of Rights
President and CEO,
leadership need to realize that as a result of creeping indifference,
today, “In Cyberspace you are guilty until proven innocent.” Our
collective digital faces are rubbed into that unfortunate truism
every day as decisions that affect each of our lives are made
without our consent or knowledge. As individuals we are known
by our Digital Essence embodied as bits and bytes distributed
amongst 50,000 + anonymous data bases over which we no have access
or recourse to amend, edit or correct.
I hired my cyber-PI neighbor to assemble the medical, financial,
legal records and whatever else he could find on a local TV news
reporter (with his consent.) The results? 17 pounds of records,
I went to
the Internet and, using my VISA card, paid for on-line research
in the hopes of further violating my victim’s privacy. When all
was said and done, I spent less than $1,000 and knew more about
the TV personality than he knew about himself; including spousal
This is wrong.
Morally and ethically, this is wrong. The 200 year old concept
of public records did not envision Intel, Microsoft or the Internet.
The Constitution did not envision the records of 265 million Americans
being sold on a CD for $29.95. The solution is a simple, yet bold
one, requiring political strength, vision and the love of one’s
constituency more than oneself.
is a six point Electronic Bill of Rights which takes into account
the realities of modern technology, and overarching legislative
1. I own my
name. My name is mine to do with as I please. Not yours.
2. You, as
a business, may use my name for the purpose of our transaction
only. You may not sell, barter or otherwise market my name, or
any information about me, without my explicit permission.
3. If you
need to keep my name in files for the purpose of ongoing business,
you will protect it from abuse, illicit access or accidental release.
4. If you
have any files containing my name, you must notify me of the existence
of those files, send me copies upon request, and provide a reasonable
means to add, delete or correct information.
5. The Government
will create a new Data Classification called “Personal but Unclassified,”
and set standards for its protection in both the private sector
and for legitimate government needs.
6. I will
have civil and criminal recourse against persons and organizations,
private and government, who either violate my Electronic Rights,
or permit them to be violated.
principles will bring back much of the privacy that has been eroded
away since the dawn of the computer age. It places a common sense
limit to how my name may be used, and will add credibility and
accuracy to existing data bases.
principles will also cause a backlash by those organizations who
do not believe in the privacy rights of the individual and whom
make their living by twisting the concepts of public records and
unregulated data bases for their personal profit.
But more importantly,
these simple principles will help us find the leaders in Congress
who understand how critical and fundamental these rights are and
should be. These new leaders will find the political courage to
finally make cyberspace a much, much safer place to play, live
and do business.
© 2000-2001 Interpact, Inc. All Rights Reserved
For comments about this page, contact: Kelley
Walker, Interpact, Inc.