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Abstract

Privacy became a public issue during the 1970s to an extent that was unprecedented in American history. In retrospect it now seems inevitable that an information society, with its new-found ability to store, manipulate, link, and retrieve vast quantities of information, would have to contend with abuse of information. Threats to and concerns about privacy predate the computer, of course, but it was the emergence of massive machine readable data systems that gave rise to the recent wave of legislation, at both the federal and state levels, designed to regulate the collection and use of personal information.

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