Hastings Law Journal


The computer revolution has created a world where communication is cheap and instantaneous, and where vast amounts of information and consumer goods are just a click away. It also has created a world where the electronic gadgets we use every day create a trail of information that is being collected, examined, sold, and—far too often—stolen. Individuals have little to no control over the use and sale of this personal, private information, and the law has failed to keep pace. Some privacy advocates have suggested that traditional privacy torts should be used by the courts to stop the worst of these privacy invasions. However, these torts, developed more than fifty years ago, are ill-suited to the task. In addition, many states and the federal government have passed laws and regulations to protect the most sensitive of private information from prying eyes. But these laws have proven to be inadequate in a rapidly changing world of iPhones, Netflix, and Internet searches. What is needed is a national standard that will protect the privacy of individuals without stifling innovation. A ban on the dissemination of private information, along with more stringent laws meant to prevent identity theft, will go a long way to achieving these twin goals.

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