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Casebook Credits History Find
Privacy and Data Syllabus
First published Mar 2015

Among the most complicated choices people make about communications are those that reveal their own and others’ personal information.From the modern right of privacy’s roots in the famous 1896 Brandeis and Warren Harvard Law Review article, its use to describe regulation of information gathering and sharing has shaped American law to the present.Technology’s power in recording facts about the world and making them discoverable has again focused attention on the concept of privacy, and some would contend changed it forever. Fears about these technological changes come from both traditionally right-wing and traditionally left-wing circles over both government and private sector collection and use of data. There are also intensely positive hopes for the rise of “big data” tied to the ubiquitous presence of recording that may allow for significant improvement in long-standing problems of government, technology, economics, and finance. The fact that some predicted changes from the earlier years of science fiction have now been realized makes it an opportune time to take stock of the state of privacy rights today.Drawing on the instructor’s experience as the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook from 2005 to 2009 and as an active investor in the technology sector, this class will examine first principles about privacy while maintaining an aggressively empirical focus on the actual state of play in both the surveillance and data analytics worlds.