The problems arising from the emergence of digital dossiers are profoundly important. They affect the power of individuals, institutions, and the government; and they pervade numerous relationships that form the framework of modern society. The way we respond to these problems will significantly shape the type of society we are constructing. Digital dossiers will affect our freedom and power; they will define the very texture and tenor of our lives.
Ideally, technology empowers us, gives us greater control over our lives, and makes us more secure. But digital technologies of data gathering and use are having the opposite effect. Increasingly, companies and the government are using computers to make important decisions about us based on our dossiers, and we are frequently not able to participate in the process.
As discussed throughout this book, the law of information privacy has not yet effectively grappled with these problems. Certainly, information privacy law has had positive effects. It would be far too simple to conclude that the law has failed. But the law has not been sufficiently successful, and the problems have grown much more troubling during the law's watch.