Privacy, Information, and Technology

Privacy and Security

Article Snapshot


Paul M. Schwartz and Daniel J. Solove


Aspen Publishing Co., 2nd edition, 2009


This book describes law and cases relating to privacy.

Policy Relevance

New communications and information storage technology raises difficult privacy issues.

Main Points

  • Privacy protections in the law vary in their origins and types. Some are said to originate with a law review article authored by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis.
  • Privacy is defined somewhat differently by different scholars, and some critics caution that it has drawbacks as well as benefits.
  • The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which requires law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant before conducting searches, provides privacy rights against the federal and state government surveillance.
    • New technologies such as wiretapping, email, and keystroke logging devices raise new constitutional issues.
  • Other key laws governing government surveillance include the Communications Act (1934), the Omnibus Crime Control Act (1968), the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (1994), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (1986), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978), and the USA-Patriot Act (2001).
    • New issues relating to government surveillance include airline passenger screening and profiling.
  • Privacy issues involving the private section include data mining, identity theft, consumer privacy, financial privacy, spyware, and cookies.

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