Managing Privacy

Information Technology and Corporate America

By H. Jeff Smith

320 pp., 6.25 x 9.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4454-0
    Published: June 1994
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3989-5
    Published: October 2017

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Awards & distinctions

1994 Donald McGannon Book Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy Research, Donald McGannon Communication Research Center

The ongoing revolution in electronic information technology raises critical questions about our right to privacy. As more personal information is gathered and stored at breathtaking speed, corporate America is confronted with the ethical and practical issues of how to handle the information in its databases: how should it be safeguarded and who should have access to it? In Managing Privacy, Jeff Smith examines the policies of corporations such as insurance companies, banks, and credit card firms that regularly process medical, financial, and consumer data. According to Smith, many companies lack comprehensive policies regulating the access to and distribution of personal data, and where stated policies do exist, actual practices often conflict. Few organizations are willing to become leaders in the development of such policies, instead formulating privacy guidelines only after being pressured by consumers, the media, or legislators. Smith argues that as information technology advances, both corporations and society as a whole must modify their approaches to privacy protection, and he presents specific suggestions for developing such policies.

Originally published in 1994.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

About the Author

H. Jeff Smith is assistant professor of business administration at Georgetown University.
For more information about H. Jeff Smith, visit the Author Page.


"Well-crafted. . . . An important contribution to the literature."--Library Journal

"The book is remarkable for its even-handed treatment of an incredibly complex issue. Finally, someone has written a treatise providing solutions, not just criticism. . . . Managing Privacy is a book anyone interested in the economic future of our country should read, deliberate and act upon."--Cowles Report on Database Marketing

"The empirical findings of this important book should shape public policy on fashioning appropriate data protection for the private sector in North America in the immediate future. The book is further distinguished as an insider's account; Smith understands the business world and empathizes with its problems, just as he prescribes solutions."--David H. Flaherty, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Province of British Columbia

"This is without doubt a landmark book, the best informed and most insightful examination of the growing challenge to individual privacy in many years."--David Burnham, Syracuse University