Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 2140-2142

Privacy Policies and Preferences

  • Patrick C. K. HungAffiliated withUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • , Yi ZhengAffiliated withUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • , Stephanie ChowAffiliated withUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology


Privacy policies describe an enterprise’s data practices, what information is collected from individuals (subjects), what the information (objects) will be used for, whether the enterprise provides access to the information, who the recipients are of any result generated from the information, how long the information will be retained, and who will be informed in the event of a dispute. A subject releases his or her data to the custody of an enterprise while consenting to the set of purposes for which the data may be used. The subject can express his or her preferences in a set of preference-rules to make decisions regarding the acceptability of privacy policies.

Historical Background

People have been concerned with privacy policies and preferences for more than 200 years. For example, the Hippocratic Oath was written as a guideline of medical ethics for doctors in respect to a patient’s health condition, and states as follows: “Whatsoever things I ...

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