Global Privacy Concerns and Regulation— Is the United States a World Apart?
The regulatory approach to privacy protection taken by many foreign jurisdictions is markedly different from that of the United States. The European Union (EU) best illustrates the international approach with its comprehensive privacy directive that applies to all EU members. By contrast, the approach regarding data privacy in the United States has been to pass industry-specific laws and often only in response to public outcry over some privacy concern. These fundamental differences have been the source of some conflict in international commercial transacting. Now that the global community is committed to eliminating terrorism, it remains to be seen if these different attitudes toward privacy by the United States and much of the rest of the world will affect global attempts to weed out terrorists. This article discusses the constitutional basis for most US policy approaches to privacy regulation. The article explains how the US constitution is the source for most of the differences between the US and international regulatory approaches to information privacy. Finally, the discussion addresses how new issues regarding privacy in the war on terrorism may be addressed by US Constitutional law.