Fair Information Practices: A Basic History

46 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2014 Last revised: 23 Dec 2016

Robert Gellman


Date Written: December 22, 2016


This report offers a history of Fair Information Practices (FIPs) with a focus – but not an exclusive one – on activities in the United States. The text usually quotes key portions of source documents in order to allow for comparison of different versions of FIPs. For the most part, the analysis is neutral, with only limited interpretation, comment, and criticism.

FIPs are a set of internationally recognized practices for addressing the privacy of information about individuals. Information privacy is a subset of privacy. FIPs are important because they provide the underlying policy for many national laws addressing privacy and data protection matters. The international policy convergence around FIPs as core elements for information privacy has remained in place since the late 1970s. Privacy laws in the United States, which are much less comprehensive in scope than laws in some other countries, often reflect some elements of FIPs but not as consistently as the laws of most other nations.

Keywords: Fair Information Practices, FIPs, Privacy

Suggested Citation

Gellman, Robert, Fair Information Practices: A Basic History (December 22, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2415020 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2415020

Robert Gellman (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

Washington, DC

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