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Data Mining and Privacy

Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, Vol. 11, pp. 105-113, Fall 2000

10 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2000 Last revised: 12 Oct 2015

Joseph S. Fulda

affiliation not provided to SSRN


Data mining is the intelligent search for new knowledge in existing masses of data. This article reviews what data mining technology can do and asks and answers the question, Is data mining a violation of privacy that ought to be limited by law? - tort law in the case of an individual actor and Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in the case of a state actor. Since data mining is a new technology and the existing data that are mined are presumed to be properly acquired, the answer would appear to be No. However, we deduce from three hypothetical cases of what might be called pre-technological data mining that our intuitions tell us that data mining is indeed a violation of privacy. We then review the case law - which does not agree with our intuitions - and briefly discuss alternative, technological means of protecting privacy in the face of advanced data mining techniques.

There was no agreement, express or implied, not to use the PDF; the journal was given a license not a transfer of copyright.

Keywords: Data mining, privacy, privacy rights, intangible property, abstract property, Fourth Amendment, databases

Suggested Citation

Fulda, Joseph S., Data Mining and Privacy. Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, Vol. 11, pp. 105-113, Fall 2000. Available at SSRN: or

Joseph S. Fulda (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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