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"Should Privacy and Data Ownership Be Regulated?  Can They Be Regulated?"
Friday, Sept. 25, 1998, 4 p.m., Big 12 Room, K-State Student Union
Solveig Singleton, Director of Information Studies, Cato Institute, Washington DC

Should private companies be allowed to keep information about the buying habits of their customers and share that information with other businesses? Tension is growing between the demand for free flow of information and the call of privacy alarmists for regulation of the use of customer information by private-sector businesses. From the "Electronic Bill of Rights" of Al Gore to threats of regulatory actions by the FTC, privacy may become the regulatory boot in the door of the Internet.

Understanding the controversy over privacy will be crucial throughout 1999, as the European Union has demanded that U.S. companies comply by October 1998 with privacy rules comparable to those the EU has adopted. Firms that fail to do so might find themselves barred from serving European customers. U.S. lawmakers should not allow Europeans to foist their confused privacy regulations on citizens of the United States, because the European model does little but empower new bureaucracies to restrict freedom.

Solveig Singleton
In addition to serving as Director of Information Studies, Singleton specializes in privacy policy, encryption, and telecommunications law. Her controversial articles have appeared in the Journal of Commerce, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, Internet Underground, and HotWired. Her undergraduate degree is from Reed College, where she majored in philosophy. She then graduated cum laude from Cornell Law School, and worked at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, a prominent boutique telecommunications law firm. She currently serves as Vice Chairman of Publications for the Telecommunications and Electronic Media Practice Group of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies.


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September 22, 1998