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State Data Privacy Legislation

NBC news is carrying the results of a nationwide survey on attitudes towards data privacy. The results are conflicting: while a majority claim to have concerns regarding data privacy (both as to corporations and the government) a majority also claim to be willing to sacrifice what some privacy advocates claim are "personal" items of data for greater convenience, savings and personal security.

For example, forty percent would submit to fingerprinting at a local police station. Sixty percent would carry a driver's license with an embedded ID chip or biometric device. Nearly 20 percent of respondendents would be willing to have a microchip implanted under their skin that could be used to identify the owner and access his or her medical history in the event of a medical emergency.

And yet the conflict between privacy concerns and the efficiencies and convenience that can come from data-sharing have not prevented many state legislatures from adopting data privacy legislation, as outlined in a white paper I recently co-authored (with C. Celeste Creswell) for the Edison Electric Institute, available here.

There is an argument that these many and conflicting state laws make compliance unnecessarily difficult for service providers and that federal preemption is needed to provide a single, national standard.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.