Primary Mission/Objective of the Privacy Foundation:
The Privacy Foundation, based at the University of Denver’s Strum College of Law, attracts a worldwide audience of professionals to the research findings published on its Internet web site, http://www.privacyfoundation.org, as well as public seminars on topical privacy issues.
The Foundation conducts research and educates both practitioners of the legal profession and the general public about technologies that affect personal privacy when improperly implemented. Wireless, digital television, satellite, biometric, and Internet technologies enhance the possible tracking of individuals in ways never before imaginable. The Privacy Foundation was formed to research the privacy and security implications of this highly networked world. In researching new technologies – and in describing their business, legal and societal implications – the Foundation serves to identify possible threats to individual privacy. The Foundation also assists media outlets in their efforts to accurately inform and educate the public concerning the ever-present tension between privacy and security. The target audience includes members of the business community, public policy members, academic scholars, privacy advocates, and attorneys.
In pursuit of this mission, the Privacy Foundation engages in a number of activities. The Foundation hosts bi-annual seminars for the legal and privacy professional communities. Recent seminar topics include:
- October 2008 – Privacy and Legal Ethics: Ethical Concerns for Lawyers Counseling Privacy Data Breaches
- March 2009 – Judicial Perspectives on Privacy
- October 2009 – Is HIPAA Privacy the Elephant in the Room?
The Foundation participated in the 2009 International Data Privacy Day, a joint effort of public and private institutions to designate a day to further public awareness of privacy issues. The Foundation will host a privacy educational lunch to celebrate in 2010.
Local media have relied on executive Director John Soma as a subject matter expert on stories involving privacy.
The Privacy Foundation believes that while public awareness of privacy issues has come a long way, the need to educate the public about the truths and myths surrounding privacy is growing stronger.
A recent study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that the public’s number one concern regarding electronic medical records is privacy. This survey showed that this concern stemmed more from a lack of awareness of how healthcare providers and payers handle electronic medical information rather than a true understanding of the risks involved.
AHRQ Publication No. 09-0081-EF July 2009 avail at: http://healthit.ahrq.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_1248_888520_0_0_18/09-0081-EF.pdf
With additional funding, the Privacy Foundation can expand its educational efforts beyond its professional audience to the general public. Examples of possible new activities include a public awareness campaign in support of International Data Privacy Day and web-casting a series of seminars on consumer privacy issues.
The Privacy Foundation has proven itself as a dedicated, reliable advocate for privacy. Support of the Foundation effectively and efficiently furthers the cause of privacy.
John T. Soma is the Executive Director of the University of Denver Privacy Foundation. After completing his PhD in economics in 1975, Soma served from 1976 to 1979 as trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C., where he was primarily assigned to the Department of Justice trial team in the . In 1979, he joined the University of Denver Sturm College of Law faculty. In addition to six books on computer law, Professor Soma has authored more than 40 professional articles in the computer law and privacy area.
Bob Voorhees began working with computers in 1967 and has held management positions in IT Audit, Security, and Operations. He has been involved in computer forensics and computer crime investigation. He has been a Certified Information Systems Auditor since 1979 and holds a Masters in Computer Resource Management and an MBA.
Jessica Hogan, Manager of Educational Technology, Sturm College of Law.
Diane Bales handles all administrative functions for the Privacy Foundation. She also coordinates all of the Privacy Seminars including managing the mailing lists, reserving rooms and hotels accommodations, and all accounting functions.