Getting Personal: Balancing Privacy and Security in the Fight Against Terrorism

Recent debate over full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints once again highlights the issues we face in balancing security with privacy. We are observed at work, in stores, and on the street by security systems. By our own choice, we use online resources to bank, shop, contact friends and family, and apply for loans. In countless other ways we may unknowingly reveal personal information. Technological advances in biometric recognition, data mining, e-commerce and behavioral surveillance all raise questions about exactly how personal our personal information is.

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists examines existing privacy laws to assess how privacy can be protected in current and future programs. Law-abiding citizens leave extensive digital tracks, and so do criminals and terrorists. Gathering and analyzing electronic, behavioral, biological, and other information can play major roles in the prevention, detection, and mitigation of terrorist attacks, just as they do against other criminal threats. This book provides a framework for making decisions about deploying and evaluating information-based programs on the basis of their effectiveness and associated risks to personal privacy.

Released this year, Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities deals with unresolved questions about the effectiveness and management of systems for biometric recognition, as well as the appropriateness and societal impact of their use. These books and other titles from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can inform and guide discussion of this important issue.

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or “mine” personal data¬†– such as phone records or Web sites visited¬†– should be required to evaluate the programs’ effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. A framework is…
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Biometric Recognition Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities

Biometric recognition–the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic–is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and…
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Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace

Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit…
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Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of business and…
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