Information privacy, or data privacy (or data protection), is the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political issues surrounding them.

Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected, stored, used, and finally destroyed or deleted – in digital form or otherwise. Improper or non-existent disclosure control can be the root cause for privacy issues. Data privacy issues may arise in response to information from a wide range of sources, such as:

  • Healthcare records
  • Criminal justice investigations and proceedings
  • Financial institutions and transactions
  • Biological traits, such as genetic material
  • Residence and geographic records
  • Privacy breach
  • Location-based service and geolocation
  • Web surfing behavior or user preferences using persistent cookies
  • Academic research


The challenge of data privacy is to utilize data while protecting an individual's privacy preferences and their personally identifiable information. The fields of computer security, data security, and information security design and utilize software, hardware, and human resources to address this issue. Since the laws and regulations related to Privacy and Data Protection are constantly changing, it is important to keep abreast of any changes in the law and to continually reassess compliance with data privacy and security regulations.[3] Within academia, Institutional Review Boards function to assure that adequate measures are takentoinsure both the privacy and confidentiality of human subjects in research.

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