This 1973 report is about changes in American society which may result from using computers to keep records about people. Its central concern is the relationship between individuals and recordkeeping organizations. It identifies key issues and makes specific recommendations for action.
The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems was established by former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Elliot L. Richardson in response to growing concern about the harmful consequences that may result from uncontrolled application of computer and telecommunications technology to the collection, storage, and use of data about individual citizens. The formation of the Committee rests upon a public interest determination made by Secretary Richardson which provides in part as follows:
The use of automated data systems containing information about individuals is growing in both the public and private sectors …. The Department itself uses many such systems, and in addition, a substantial number .. are used by other organizations, both public and private, with financial or other support … from the Department … At the same time, there is a growing concern that automated personal data systems present a serious potential for harmful consequences, including infringement of basic liberties. This has led to the belief that special safeguards should be developed to protect against potentially harmful consequences for privacy and due process.