2003 Job Search Privacy Study: Principles of Fair Information Practices

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The premise of this report and the analysis of site practices and issues in this report is based upon the canon of Fair Information Practices, particularly as expressed in the eight principles of Fair Information Practices outlined in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 1980 Guidelines. [5] These guidelines form the basis of most modern international privacy agreements and national laws. The principles were agreed upon by member countries, including the United States. These principles and guidelines are referred to throughout the report either as the principles of Fair Information Practices, or as the OECD guidelines.

A. The OECD Guidelines outlining the principles of Fair Information Practices are as follows:

1. Collection Limitation Principle

There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.

2. Data Quality Principle

Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date.

3. Purpose Specification Principle

The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfillment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.

4. Use Limitation Principle

Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 9 except:

a) with the consent of the data subject; or
b) by the authority of law.

5. Security Safeguards Principle

Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.

6. Openness Principle

There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.

7. Individual Participation Principle

An individual should have the right:

a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him;
b) to have communicated to him, data relating to him
within a reasonable time;
at a charge, if any, that is not excessive;
in a reasonable manner; and
in a form that is readily intelligible to him;
c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs(a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial; and
d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.

8. Accountability Principle

A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above. The United States endorsed the OECD Guidelines.

B. Other Documents Considered

An historic set of fair information practices was created in July 1973 by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s seminal 1973 report entitled Records, Computers and the Rights of Citizens (1973). Typically referred to as the “HEW Report,” its core principles are as follows.

The Code of Fair Information Practices is based on five principles:

1. There must be no personal data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.

2. There must be a way for a person to find out what information about the person is in a record and how it is used.

3. There must be a way for a person to prevent information about the person that was obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without the person’s consent.

4. There must be a way for a person to correct or amend a record of identifiable information about the person.

5. Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take precautions to prevent misuses of the data. [6]

For more information about these principles, please see U.S. Dep’t. of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems, Records, computers, and the Rights of Citiznes viii (1973).

The European Union Directive on the Protection of Personal Data (1995); and the Canadian Standards Association, Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information: A National Standard of Canada (1996) are other major documents that reinforce the OECD core principles. While these documents were considered in the preparation of this report, they did not form the immediate backbone of the study and the report.






[5] See < http://cs3-hq.oecd.org/scripts/pwv3/pwhome.htm>

[6] See< http://www.epic.org/privacy/consumer/code_fair_info.html>.



Roadmap: 2003 Job Search Privacy Study – Job Searching in the Networked Environment: Consumer Privacy Benchmarks: III. Principles of Fair Information Practices


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