Several areas of law affect access to and use of geographic data, services, and technologies. Among the most pressing in importance to providers and users of geographic data and services include intellectual property (e.g., copyright, patent, and trade secret), freedom of information (i.e., freedom to access the records of government), and the information privacy of individuals. Support of a liberal policy concerning copyright law; support of the general principle of open and unrestricted access to government information, while accounting for security concerns; and support of autonomy for individuals to protect their own personal information privacy are often wise policy choices for nations. These policy approaches, when tempered with appropriate means for protecting other core interests, have been beneficial for nations adhering to them both in ...

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