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23 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 471 (2001-2002)
Information Technology and Workers' Privacy: The United States Law

handle is hein.journals/cllpj23 and id is 491 raw text is: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND
WORKERS' PRIVACY: THE UNITED STATES
LAW
Matthew W. Finkint
I.  INTRODUCTION
Cyberspace and Privacy, the topic of a Symposium in the
Stanford Law Review, produced six hundred pages of analyses and
commentary by sixteen prominent commentators.' Despite the wealth
of legal thought, the state of the law in the United States relevant to
the topic addressed here has been put in one short sentence: [N]o
successful standards, legal or otherwise, exist in the United States for
limiting the collection and utilization of personal data in cyberspace.2
Meanwhile, the development and deployment of technology
grows apace, far outstripping the law's compass.' As a report on job
applicants observes, For much of American history prospective
employees were largely anonymous to their prospective employers.
The development of computer technology, the creation of readily
accessible databases and networks connecting them, has worked a sea
change. Dozens of companies now offer comprehensive background
checking services over the Internet.4 Depending only on the client's
willingness to pay, the agency can report on an applicant's record of
unexpunged criminal convictions, credit history, address history,
t Albert J. Harno Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law.
1. Symposium, Cyberspace and Privacy: A New Legal Paradigm?, 52 STAN. L. REV. (No.
5) (2000).
2. Paul Schwartz, Privacy, Participation, and Cyberspace: An American Perspective, in
ZUR AUTONOMIE DES INDIVIDUUMS: LIBER AMERICORUM SPIROS SIMITIS 337, 337-338
(Dieter Simon & Manfred Weiss eds., 2000).
3. See, e.g., Joan Gabel & Nancy Mansfield, On the Increasing Presence of Remote
Employees: An Analysis of the Internet's Impact on Employment Law as it Relates to
Teleworkers, 2001 J.L. TECH. & POL'Y 233 (2001).
4. Employment Law Seminar, The Regulation of Employee Information in the United
States, 21 COMP. LAB. L. & POL'Y J. 787, 810 (2000). See generally Matthew Finkin, From
Anonymity to Transparence: Screening the Workforce in the Information Age, 2000 COLUM.
BUS. L. REV. 403 (2000).

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