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General Issue

Who Owns Information? Law Enforcement Information Sharing as a Case Study in Conceptual Confusion (Advance)

Author

Lyria Bennett Moses

This article addresses the real impacts of conceptual confusion surrounding statutory language linking entities and information for purposes such as privacy, freedom of information, archiving, policing and evidence laws. The idea of ownership of information (which is assumed in the statutory allocation of powers of control and responsibilities) is captured in a confusing miscellany of terminology that differs across jurisdictions and contexts. It uses the example of information sharing for law enforcement purposes as a case study to highlight the practical challenges inherent in the diverse and vague statutory language linking entities and information. It then proposes a new taxonomy for attributing responsibilities and powers with respect to information that is consistent with the ephemeral nature of the subject matter.

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