This Essay focuses on the relationship between the privacy and the retail payment systems on the Internet. Part I of this Essay reviews several payment mechanisms that are in use or that have been introduced for retail commerce on the Internet. The description is not intended to offer a thorough study of the technology, but rather to highlight the data trail that is created under each method. Part II reviews the relevant statutory and self-regulatory mechanisms that have been applied to the Internet to ensure privacy. This leads to a discussion of the European Community's data protection directive, Council Directive No. 95/46/EC ("EC Directive"). The EC Directive became effective in October 1998, and its impact on the Internet is still uncertain, although the global community is certainly taking it seriously. Part III begins with an analysis of the EC Directive, followed by the proposal that the EC Directive may influence the direction of the development of electronic currency towards an anonymous or un traceable product. This is a controversial proposal on an interpretative level because of the national security and monetary concerns of governments throughout the world. We have just begun our journey into the "information age," and the conclusion of this Essay suggests that thoughtful legal responses to technological changes are needed.
Julia Alpert Gladstone,
Does the EC Council Directive No. 95/46/EC Mandate the Use of Anonymous Digital Currency?,
22 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1907
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol22/iss5/1