Introducing the Privacy Project

By Irick, Joan Fullam | Defense Counsel Journal, January 2003 | Go to article overview

Introducing the Privacy Project


Irick, Joan Fullam, Defense Counsel Journal


WHEN I was selected to serve as IADC President for the 2002-03 term, I decided to make the issue of corporate and personal privacy a key theme for my administration. Recent articles in newspapers, magazines and other media have been filled with "horror stories" of attacks on privacy rights, including in recent months:

* The county attorney of Buena Vista County, Iowa, subpoenaing the names of hundreds of women who had pregnancy tests at a local Planned Parenthood clinic as part of an investigation of the death of an unidentified baby.

* The 10 active federal trial judges in South Carolina voting unanimously to ban "secret legal settlements" on products liability, medical malpractice and other complex litigation.

* Administrators at an Ivy League college hacking into a rival university's computer system to obtain information about applicants for admission.

The issue of privacy is, of course, a touchy one. While we all have a strong desire to guard our own privacy and to protect ourselves from the undue curiosity of hackers, employers and overzealous neighbors, at the same time we want to know everything we possibly can about the backgrounds, criminal records and personal problems of those who live or work around us.

In July 2001, I presented to the IADC Executive Committee a written proposal for the creation of a Privacy Project to explore in depth recent changes in the privacy landscape, the current status of privacy on both the national and international scene, and the foreseeable future of privacy in the individual and corporate worlds. …

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