The rapid advances in information technology and the growth of the Internet in the information age create a double-edged sword concerning civil liberties.

The Internet can provide an unprecedented forum for the dissemination of information and open debate. At the same time however, the same technologies, which can promote vital liberties such as free speech, association and access to information, can be used to erode the equally prized constitutional protections concerning privacy.

The exponential advances being made in information technologies are problematic in the sense that technology is evolving much more rapidly than lawmakers can effectively address these issues; for this reason alone it is vital that the legislature should act on this issue now and be prepared to carefully monitor developments in the future.

State databases contain a wealth of information relevant to the efficient provision of government and state services to the public. In the wrong hands, this same information could provide for the most serious intrusions into individual privacy and cause great disruptions in the lives of affected individuals.

This legislation would provide a necessary and reasonable assurance to the citizens of the state that intimate personal data necessary for the operation of government has been adequately safeguarded while providing for the continued access to this information by legitimate users of state databases without onerous restrictions.

The NYCLU strongly supports the passage of the Internet Privacy Policy Act.

Position

Support