Course Description

601:635. Digital Privacy Law (2 or 3)


Personal data in digital form have become the principal input for industries ranging from online advertising, social networking, cloud computing, and health and financial services. The use of personal data is becoming increasingly important to government activities too (e.g., national security, law enforcement, urban planning, traffic control, public health, and education).

Emerging technologies such as wearables, drones, and sensor networks are accelerating data collection, storage, and analysis.  Stakeholders at the state, national, and international levels struggle to adopt privacy laws to protect individual rights, while at the same time allowing for technological innovation, free speech, and productive use of big data. This course examines the tensions between privacy interests and other social and political goals in the digital world. Students will study the philosophical roots of the concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and individuals’ right to control collection and dissemination of their personal information.

The course will review developments in American Constitutional law, tort law, and statutory law, and look at global fair information privacy practices.  Student evaluation will be based on class participation and either an exam or a paper.