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Willis Ware, Tech Innovator, Privacy Pioneer, Dies at 93

Willis Ware, who helped usher in the computer age and provided the foundation for modern privacy law, passed recently at his home in Santa Monica. He was 93. An electronic engineer by training, Ware had worked with John von Neumann at Princeton on the early designs for digital processing. Fascinated by the social impact of computer technology, he turned quickly to the key challenge of privacy protection. In 1973, as the chair of an influential government committee that was wrestling with the increased automation of record keeping, Ware conceived of "Fair Information Practices", the allocation of rights and responsibilities in the collection and use of personal data. The report "Records, Computers and the Rights of Citizens" became the foundation of the Privacy Act of 1974, the most comprehensive privacy law ever enacted in the United States. Ware also served as chairman of the Security and Privacy Board, established by Congress in 1987, that helped loosen controls on the public use of cryptography in the 1990s and made possible the adoption of critical security technologies for the Internet. Ware joined the EPIC Advisory Board not long after the organization was established in 1994, and received the EPIC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. For more information, see EPIC: Willis Ware.

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