Moral and Legal Foundations of Privacy

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Moral and Legal Foundations of Privacy

    Moral and Legal Foundations of Privacy Information Security Institute 650.430 Andrew Siegel, J.D., Ph.D.

    Spring 2005

Office Hours: Wednesday, 11:30-12:30 and by appointment

Course Readings

    Most of the readings for the seminar are on electronic reserve, and can be accessed at Other readings I will hand out or send electronically.

I. The Emergence of a Right to Privacy in Tort Law

a. The “Right to Be Let Alone”

    Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy,” Harvard Law Review


    b. Positivist Rejection of a Right to Privacy Roberson v. Rochester 64 N.E. 442 (1902)

    c. Natural Law Affirmation of the Right to Privacy Pasevich v. New England Life Insurance Co. 50 S.E. 68 (l905).

d. Consolidation of the Tort Right of Privacy

    William L. Prosser, “Privacy,” California Law Review (l960)

e. The Human Dignity Thesis and the Critique of Prosser

    Edward J. Bloustein, “Privacy as an Aspect of Human Dignity,” New York University Law Review (l964)

    f. Tort Privacy and Freedom of the Press Florida Star v. B.J.F. 491 U.S. 524 (l989)

II. Privacy and the Fourth Amendment

a. Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (l928)

    b. The Expectation of Privacy Principle Katz v. U.S., 389 U.S. 347 (l967)

c. The Shift from a “Probable Cause” to “Reasonable Suspicion” Standard

    Terry v. Ohio, 39 U.S. 1 (l968)

d. Student Drug Testing

    Board of Education of Independent School Dist. No. 92 of Pottawatomie City vs. Earls

    536 U.S. 822 (2002)

e. Technological Searches of the Home: Thermal Imaging

    Kyllo v. United States 121 Sup. Ct. 2038 (2001)

III. Decisional Privacy

    a. The Contraception Cases and the Discovery of a Constitutional Right to Decisional


    Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (l965)

    Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (l972)

b. Abortion

    Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (l973)

c. Homosexuality and Sodomy

    Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 1039 (1986)

    Lawrence v. Texas 539 US (2003)

    IV. Philosophical Perspectives on Privacy a. Communitarianism and Decisional Privacy Michael Sandel, “Privacy Rights and Family Law,” pp. 91-108 in Democracy’s Discontent (l996).

b. Beyond Liberalism and Communitarianism: The “Anti-Totalitarian Principle”

    Jed Rubenfeld, “The Right of Privacy,” in Freedom and Time (2001)

c. The Reductionist Thesis

    Judith Jarvis Thomson, “The Right to Privacy,” Philosophy and Public Affairs (l975)

d. The “Restricted-Access” View

    Ruth Gavison, "Privacy and the Limits of Law." Yale Law Journal (1980):421-40

e. Privacy as the Absence of Undocumented Information

    William A. Parent, "Privacy, Morality, and the Law." Philosophy and Public Affairs (1983): 269-75.

f. Privacy and Intimacy

    Julie C. Inness, Privacy, Intimacy and Isolation (1992) pp.56-69

g. The Functions of Privacy and the Balance of Privacy and Disclosure

    Alan F. Westin, “Privacy in the Modern Democratic State,” pp. 31-42 of Privacy and Freedom (l967)

h. Privacy and Respect for Persons

    Stanley Benn, “Privacy, Freedom, and Respect for Persons,” in Privacy: Nomos XIII ed. J.

    Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman (l971).

i. Privacy as a Condition of Relationships

    James Rachels, “Why Privacy is Important,” Philosophy and Public Affairs


    Robert Gerstein, “Intimacy and Privacy,” Ethics (l978)

j. Privacy as a Condition of Personhood

    Jeffrey H. Reiman, “Privacy, Intimacy, and Personhood,” Philosophy and Public Affairs


k. Skepticism about Privacy: “Counterculture” Considerations

    Richard A. Wasserstrom, “Privacy: Some Arguments and Assumptions, in Philosophical

    Law, ed. Richard Bronaugh (l978)

l. Privacy and Historical Contingency

    Ferdinand Schoeman, “The Ascent of Privacy: A Historical and Conceptual Account,” in Privacy and Social Freedom (l992)

V. Further Issues

a. Privacy in the Age of Digital Dossiers

    Daniel J. Solove, “The Rise of the Digital Dossier,” and “Kafka and Orwell: Reconceptualizing Information Privacy,” in The Digital Person (2004)

b. Privacy and National Security

    USA Patriot Act

    Additional readings TBA

Course Requirements

    There will be a take-home final exam consisting of essay questions that address issues covered throughout the course. The exam will be handed out on the last day of class, and will be due one week later. Attendance is required. I encourage you to actively participate in class discussion, and I take participation into account in the grading process.

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