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Revisiting the Privacy Act of 1974 for Big Data Policing

Cite as: 6 Geo. L. Tech. Rev. 386 (2022)

What would you think if you were pursuing the news and you read the headline New Privacy Law to Have Major Impact on Government Data? A new privacy law may strike you as a much-needed response to the ways government entities are using personal data to track us and make data analytics-based decisions about our lives. Perhaps you would assume that the headline refers to a U.S. iteration of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or one of the many federal data privacy laws proposed in Congress this session.1 But this headline is not from today; it is from 1974 when Congress passed the Privacy Act.2

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Sarah Lamdan

Sarah Lamdan is a Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law and author of the book "Data Cartels: The Companies that Control and Monopolize Our Information" (Stanford University Press, 2022). She has an information science degree focused on legal information management and is a senior fellow at SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), as well as a fellow at the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy at NYU School of Law.