Your Place or Mine? Privacy Concerns and Solutions for Server and Client-side Storage of Personal Information

Privacy and Security

Article Snapshot


Deirdre Mulligan and Ari Schwartz


Proceedings of the Tenth Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy: Challenging Assumptions, Toronto, Canada, April 2000


This paper looks at the security and privacy of data stored by businesses.

Policy Relevance

United States privacy law should be updated to give more protection to information about consumers stored by businesses, including online services.

Main Points

  • Online businesses engaged in electronic communications often collection information about consumers, including email messages, names, email addresses, credit card numbers.

  • The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires police to get a warrant to conduct a search.

  • But data stored by businesses often gets less protection from government surveillance than information stored in homes or on personal computers. This includes email messages, email logs, encryption keys, and bank records.

  • Collections of sensitive information about consumers can become the target of hackers.

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