Options for Promoting Privacy on the National Information Infrastructure. Privacy of Federal Government Records


The role of the federal government is to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."38 In support of its Constitutional mandate, the federal government coins money, collect taxes, regulates commerce, runs post offices, oversees immigration, funds social welfare programs, punishes crimes, and engages in a host of other activities designed to sustain the democracy itself and protect the welfare of its citizens.

Governments maintains volumes of records on their own activities and on the activities of their citizens (e.g. voter registration, motor vehicle, real property, commercial, criminal, marriage, birth, death and even library records). Increased computerization of these records permits them to be used and analyzed in new ways that could diminish individual privacy in the absence of data protection safeguards.

38. See U.S. Const. preamble.