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The Code of Fair Information Practices


The Code of Fair Information Practices was the central contribution of the HEW (Health, Education, Welfare) Advisory Committee on Automated Data Systems. The Advisory Committe was established in 1972, and the report released in July. The citation for the report is as follows:
U.S. Dep't. of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary's Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems, Records, computers, and the Rights of Citizens viii (1973).


The Code of Fair Information Practices is based on five principles:

  1. There must be no personal data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.

  2. There must be a way for a person to find out what information about the person is in a record and how it is used.

  3. There must be a way for a person to prevent information about the person that was obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without the person's consent.

  4. There must be a way for a person to correct or amend a record of identifiable information about the person.

  5. Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take precautions to prevent misuses of the data.


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