The technological advances that have brought enormous benefits to humankind also make us more vulnerable than ever before to unwanted snooping. As technology provides new ways to gather information and databases proliferate, the need for privacy protections becomes more urgent.

From using the telephone to seeking medical treatment to applying for a job or sending an e-mail, Americans' right to information privacy is in peril. Personal and business information is being digitized through an ever-expanding number of computer networks in formats that allow data to be linked, transferred, shared and sold, usually without our knowledge or consent.