Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty of Law
Almatarneh, Akram, Privacy protection in the information and communications technology (ICT): a comparative analysis of the laws of the United States, European Union and Jordan, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong, 2011. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3470
In recent years, Jordan as a developing country has carried out extensive reforms leading to the liberalisation of its market, deregulation of some industries and privatisation of many services previously provided by the public sector. In addition, Jordan has signed multilateral and bilateral international trade agreements as major steps taken to remove trade barriers and enable the country to become an actor on the global stage. As a result of these reforms, the sector of information and communications technology (ICT) has become one of most liberalised, privatised and advanced sector in the country. It affects all aspects of the Jordanian society, including education, healthcare, employment, telecommunications, banking and commerce. However, the challenge of individual privacy protection is a particular challenge as individuals are disclosing larger amounts of personal information than ever at a time when there are no privacy protection laws. In the mean time, public and private sectors alike are using information and communication technologies to collect, use, disclose access and transfer personal information when there are no specific guidelines to regulate their practices.
This thesis examines the legal landscape of privacy protection in the context of ICT in Jordan. The thesis provides an extensive examination of privacy information practices in the public and the private sectors. It assesses and evaluates the level to which the privacy of personal information is protected and maintained by these two sectors.
For the public sector, the thesis identifies in a case study the privacy concerns of the electronic government (e-government) of Jordan. The findings of this study are surprising. Despite most government agencies in e-government portals having the ability to collect, use, disclose, and transfer personal information, only three of the forty governmental agencies have established policies with regard to privacy protection of personal information.
For the private sector, businesses from the telecommunications and the banking sectors are chosen for investigation in relation to privacy. These two industries are the largest in the country in terms of their ability to collect, use, access, and transfer personal information. The thesis develops a ‘privacy questionnaire’ on the personal information practices of the private sector. The “’privacy questionnaire’ identifies major concerns regarding individual privacy within these businesses.
The thesis discusses in detail two opposing models of the regulation of privacy. It examines the European Union approach, which is described as a rights-based approach, and the US approach, which can be regarded as non-interventionist, reliant on the market and self-regulatory mechanisms. The tensions between the two models in the EU and US culminated in the adoption of Safe Harbour Privacy Principles. The thesis examines the effects of these two models on Jordan’s approach to privacy protection, given the fact that Jordan relies on both regimes for political, economical and financial support.
Finally, the thesis proposes national legislation for privacy protection. The proposed legal framework addresses, for the first time, the concept of privacy as a legal term. It also addresses privacy issues that may arise in the context of ICT in Jordan. In addition, the proposed model meets the international privacy principles and in particular, the ‘adequacy’ requirements stated in the EU Directive 95/46/EC.