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Position of the Reform Movement on Privacy

In the spirit of Judaism's embrace of privacy rights, the URJ and CCAR have spoken out when actions of the government or private sector have eroded these fundamental rights. In 1971, the URJ passed a resolution entitled Privacy and Surveillance, urging Congress to enact legislation to restrict the power of government to collect data on individuals. In a 1976 resolution, Privacy, the CCAR condemned government agencies that engaged in electronic surveillance, opening mail and spying. In Corporate Invasions of Privacy (1979), the CCAR expanded the scope of the previous resolution by "...deplor[ing] corporate invasions of the individual's right to privacy" such as "...administering pre-employment tests that intrude into their financial situation, personal habits, criminal record and family relationships." In 1997, both the URJ and CCAR expressed support for legislation that would prohibit health care providers or researchers from disclosing genetic data concerning an identified individual without written consent from the individual. The Women of Reform Judaism also have endorsed this legislation and taken particular interest in this issue. Finally, in its 1999 resolution entitled Internet, the CCAR called for the protection of previously private information such as medical records, address information, social security numbers and credit information, stating, "It is the right of each individual to have control over their personal data."

In March 2001, the Commission on Social Action passed a comprehensive privacy resolution dealing with medical records privacy and privacy concerns in the 21st century. The resolution will be likely be presented for consideration to the upcoming Union for Reform Judaism biennial conference in December.



Resolution on Privacy and Surveillance (1971)
Resolution on Privacy and Freedom of Information (1976)
Resolution on Privacy and National Security (1984)

Resolution on Privacy (1975)
Resolution on Privacy (1976)
Resolution on Corporate Invasions of Privacy (1979)