Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Joseph S. Szyliowicz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Viotti

Third Advisor

Claude d'Estree

Fourth Advisor

Nancy Reichman


95/46/EC, Comparative public policy, Epistemic community, Privacy, Privacy Act of 1974, Public policy


Threats to individual privacy from computer information, database, and surveillance technologies of the mid-20th century prompted the formation of a privacy epistemic community that informed and influenced privacy policy and legislation in the United States and the European Union. Because the United States was more advanced in computer technology than the European nations, awareness of privacy issues, and the privacy epistemic community, emerged first in the United States---and migrated to Europe a generation later. The United States legislated the Privacy Act of 1974, which became the benchmark for individual privacy protection in the United States. While several European nations passed privacy legislation in the 1970s, there was no common privacy policy and law among European nations. In the early 1970s, the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) created privacy data-protection committees that became important networking organizations for privacy epistemic community experts from the United States, European nations, and other OECD member nations. The influence of the trans-Atlantic privacy data-protection epistemic community can be seen in the similarities among the Fair Information Principles/Practices (FIP) found in privacy studies, guidelines, conventions, and laws in the U.S., the CoE, the OECD, and the European nations.

Two case studies describe the role and influence of the privacy data-protection epistemic community members in influencing privacy studies, policy, and legislation in the United States and Europe. The United States enacted narrow "sectoral" legislation to protect individual privacy from government computers and databases in the Privacy Act of 1974. More than two decades later, the European Union enacted broad "omnibus" data-protection legislation that effectively limits the collection and aggregation of personal data on EU citizens. Why two such dramatically different privacy data-protection laws could have been enacted when influenced by the same privacy data-protection epistemic community leads to analysis of economic, socio-cultural, and political influences on privacy data-protection legislation. Evidence suggests that privacy data-protection epistemic community influence, filtered through different socio-cultural visions of the relationship of the government and the citizen, lead to dramatically different privacy data-protection legislative results.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

George Edward Richie


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

301 p.


International relations