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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Industry Self-Regulation and Informational Privacy

The public sector's self-restraint from the regulation of privacy issues in the United States originates from its political traditions, confidence in the market-place to resolve consumer complaints, and lack of consensus on individual privacy rights. Consequently, privacy problems are regulated through voluntary industry guidelines and haphazard mixture of privacy laws. Following an analysis of the cultural, societal and economic forces related to the protection of consumer privacy, this report examines the self-regulating experiences of the direct marketing industry. This report's primary conclusion is that self-regulation can succeed in addressing privacy concerns only if policy makers can supplement the market's inadequacies with government regulations.

--Author's foreword.


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