Personal Data Protection


These days, almost every person around the world has valuable electronic information such as personal information, business documents, files with usernames, passwords to various online services, business correspondence, and others. Such information needs to be reliable protected from unauthorized access, dissemination, accidental deletion, or modification. All the developed countries worldwide are concerned about information security, as well as the protection of personal data of the citizens. In the United States, there are numerous legislative acts on protection of personal data but despite this fact today, there are many cases when these rights are violated. The purpose of the paper is to study the problem of violations of protection of personal data on the basis of the case of Apple against FBR.


The Notion of Personal Data and Importance of its Protection

Personal data is any information that directly or indirectly relates to the individual. In a modern democratic society, human rights and, in particular, the right to privacy is of paramount importance. Personal data inserts identifying and biographical data, personal characteristics, social status, information about family, education, occupation, health, a financial and service position, and other characteristics. These days, developments related to the regulation of personal data occur in many countries. There many reasons for this the globalization of business, the active use of digital including mobile technology, the growth of a network of piracy and struggle with it. There are also factors such as the rapid expansion of social networks and other media and the desire of states to control the network and mass communication.

The need to ensure security of personal data in modern times is an objective reality. Theft of personal information can cause significant material damage to the right holder, when it comes to credit cards or information about savings in the bank. Attackers, who have sufficient technical knowledge, kidnap bank card details or imitate websites of financial institutions to force the user to show his/her personal information.

There are many approaches that are held by the states establishing legal relations in the sphere of personal data starting from the maximum protection of the inviolability of such data to the almost complete denial of the right to anonymity in network communications. Initially, the issue of personal data protection at the international level was noted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It adopted a directive on the protection of privacy and personal data of international exchanges. In the future, these principles were legalized in other organizations worldwide.

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Violation of Personal Rights in the United States

In every country around the world, government collects information about the citizens. First of all, information about citizens is collected and accumulated by various public and private entities at birth and when receiving documents that certify the identity, when applying for a job, at a treatment in a medical facility, when purchasing real estate, and in other cases. In the book Data Protection in EU and US Criminal Cooperation, it is affirmed that personal and non-personal data are collected within numerous aspects of an individuals life, from making phone calls, buying groceries, applying for a job, to taking a flight booking a hotel room, drawing out a personal work-out program at the gym, signing for a mortgage. Making purchases online, the consumer is forced to provide his/her personal data. However, owners of such shops do not always provide the protection of personal data.

To date, despite the fact that the United States is considered a highly developed democratic state, individual rights including personal data are violated in the United States. Unlike most European countries, in the US, there is no general legislation on personal data. In case of violation of the rights of personal data, the Constitution and practice of case law are applied. In the book The Emergence of Personal Data Protection as a Fundamental Right of the EU, the author Gloria Fuster states that privacy protection in the US was eventually developed by not only through tort law, but also through constitutional law, which grants protection of individuals against the government. Thus, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment and the right to privacy is implied on it. Every state in the country has its regulations on the protection of personal data. For example, since 2014, the California state has a law that obliges websites to inform users if their behavior is monitored.

Despite the exciting regulations, there are numerous cases when human rights are violated in the United States. The recent incident with Apple is a direct example of violations of individual human rights. According to the FBI request, a court order was issued in relation to the investigation of the massacre in San Bernardino in 2015. A phone of one of the terrorists was in the hands of the FBI agents. However, they failed to get information from it. Within two months of work, they have not been able to break through the protective system of the device and had to require technical support from Apple through the court. When Apple management refused to help FBI, the agency hacked the phone without Apples assistant. FBI did not disclose the details. It is nothing known on the technical side of the hack. The author Kate Conger states that the FBI announced in March that it had purchased a hacking tool from a third party that enabled it to access data on an iPhone used by Syed Farook. A spokesman for the US Department of Justice commenting on the successful hacking of the phone has added that the government will not cease to fight for the right of law enforcement agencies to have access to personal data. It is associated with the fact that it can help predict terrorist attacks and save numerous lives.

However, Apple management insists that it is not about one phone or the specific case. The government of the United States insists on the introduction of changes in the system of protection, which can be a universal key used to gain access to personal data of millions of citizens. The creation of such a product endangers citizens right to protection of personal data and sets a dangerous precedent in the world. Currently IPhone protection designed in such a way that even Apple cannot have access to data of the individual phones. In the article Apple vs. FBI and Your Privacy, it is noted that after 10 failed attempts to enter a password, the phone will automatically erase all the data it has stored. The data will simply disappear. Thus, protection erases the data after the introduction of a specified number of incorrect passwords.

It is another special case, when the national government tries to gain full control over its citizens. The government of the United States wants to have full access to all aspects of life motivating it by the protection of citizens and national security. It is a normal behavior of the authorities, which essentially seek to maximize control and totalitarianism. In developed democracies, the desire for totalitarianism is balanced with the provisions of the constitution, separation of powers, delegation of authority, and resistance of civil society. Citizens often have an element of a healthy distrust to the system of government that is fully justified from a historical perspective. In American history, there is a case, when the US president was caught listening to authorize private conversations in narrow party interests. As a result of this scandal, Nixon had to leave. Thus, the system of protection of civil interests worked.

Nevertheless, it is not a single case in history of the United States. Even in modern days, there are numerous incidents with the wiretapping of personal calls. With the spread of social networks such as Facebook, the government of the United States constantly follows its citizens. It collects suspicious data from personal pages of users. In such a way, the United States is not regarded as a country that ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data.

Most of all, the United States is proud of its freedom. However, this concept is rather fuzzy. It is known that all personal information of Americans is in the hands of the authorities. The US government says that all wiretappings of telephone conversations or hacking of phones is explained only by the desire to protect the inhabitants of the country. However, in this way, people will not be free and all that, for what forefathers fought was in vain.


To date, the problem of personal data protection is rather serious. Therefore, many states develop, update, and complement laws on personal data protection. However, despite this fact, the personal rights of citizens are violated in many countries. It also applies to the United States. There are many cases of violations of individual human rights such as wiretapping and hacking of phones, and monitoring of personal correspondence in social networks. It characterizes the United States not as a democratic country.

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