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Opinion: Who Owns Our Data?

PERSONAL PRIVACY—U.S.

April 6, 2012

In a Los Angeles Times column, David Lazarus asks a question he describes as fundamental to current debates around privacy protection, "Who owns your personal information--you or the business you share it with?" Lazarus questions "whether your name, address, birth date and other sensitive data can be reasonably considered yours in an age when we've all been reduced to computer bits and when personal info has become a commodity to be bought and sold by marketers and merchants." The report includes perspectives from FTC officials, business executives and the Electronic Privacy Information Center's Marc Rotenberg, who notes that such data is considered by many businesses as "their primary asset."
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