ACM US Public Policy Council Releases Statement on Importance of Preserving Personal Privacy

NEW YORK, NY, March 6, 2018—The Association for Computing Machinery’s US Public Policy Council (USACM) today released a Statement on the Importance of Preserving Personal Privacy. Reflecting USACM’s mission of educating the public about policies that will benefit society, the new USACM statement builds and expands upon common Fair Information Practice Principles to outline 10 foundational privacy principles and practices that will provide a basis for building data privacy into modern technological systems. The principles are intended to provide a broad framework, from which case-specific solutions can be developed.

“The USACM Statement on the Importance of Preserving Personal Privacy reflects and codifies the priority that many in our field place on protecting personal privacy by giving computing professionals clear goals and imperatives,” said USACM Chair Stuart Shapiro. ”It also carries weight that this statement was developed by their peers in computing who have intimate knowledge of these technologies and face these challenges on a daily basis.”

Specifically, the new USACM principles:

  • encourage the development of innovative solutions to inform individuals about how their personal data is being collected, used, and retained, and to whom it may be disclosed and why;
  • recommend minimizing the identifiability of personal data and reducing the risk of correlation across datasets to identify individuals;
  • assert that individuals should be provided the ability to limit the collection, creation, retention, sharing and transfer of their personal data, as well as the ability to access and correct such information; and
  • task technologists with the responsibility of ensuring that personal data collected is sufficiently accurate, current, and complete for the purposes for which it is to be used, and to protect personal data against loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, and improper alteration.

“The Statement on the Importance of Preserving Personal Privacy was designed to remind people who develop and oversee these technologies that safeguarding personal privacy should always be at the forefront of their thinking,” explained Brian Dean, the Chair of USACM’s Privacy Committee. “These principles and calls to action can’t address each specific instance when a privacy consideration arises. But we believe that following each recommendation, and keeping these guiding principles in mind, will create an environment where privacy is valued at every stage of technological development.”

The Statement released today also was designed to be consistent with ACM’s Code of Ethics, which will be updated and reissued later in 2018.

About the ACM US Public Policy Council

The ACM US Public Policy Council (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM's interactions with the US government in matters of US public policy related to information technology. ACM US Public Policy Council statements represent the views of the Council and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

Jim Ormond
[email protected]

Adam Eisgrau
Director of Global Policy and Public Affairs
[email protected]

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