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Abstract

The free flow if information is critical to open society. In the United States, the tradition of open information provides the intellectual oxygen for the development American freedom, knowledge, technology, and commerce. In contrast to the right to communicate and obtain information, privacy is not an established right in the United States, except with respect to physical trespass by the government and reproductive freedom. A federal privacy czar would necessarily limit the unauthorized collection, use, and dissemination of personal information. Privacy czars invariably become privacy advocates and take active stances to discourage the free flow of information about persons and limit the dissemination of such information, regardless of the impact on other equities like the right to freedom of expression. Privacy czars would be likely to attempt to bootstrap privacy rights over other protected rights, which could threaten essential American values and freedoms, including constitutional protections under the First Amendment. The present American approach, adding a counselor in the White House to advise the President and supplement the authority of the FTC, industry self-regulation, market factors, and the political process, adequately balance privacy concerns with other essential rights.

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