Professor Danielle Citron discussing her book, “The Fight for Privacy”
I wanted to in the book, not only talk about law storytelling from the perspective of plaintiffs whose privacy was invaded by other individuals, but also of what I call spying and corporate surveillance of intimate life, which is structural messiness at a scale I can't capture. That is all of that data that you share with your dating app, all of your location data that your cell phone collects, that your Amazon Echo is then tracking, that all of the browsing that you're doing, whether it's WebMD or you're on a porn site. All that data is then being bought by advertisers, marketers, and sold to data brokers.
Highly regarded privacy law professors Daniel Solove, George Washington University, Anita Allen, University of Pennsylvania, and Ari Waldman, Northeastern University joined University of Virginia law professor Danielle Citron for a discussion of her recent book, The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity and Love in the Digital Age.
The Fight for Privacy makes the case for understanding intimate privacy as a civil and human right. The book weaves together the stories of activists, advocates, and victims as Professor Citron explores the countless ways that corporations and individuals exploit privacy loopholes in the digital age.
The panel discussion, “Examining ‘The Fight for Privacy’,” includes Professor Solove sharing key themes in Professor Citron’s work, Professor Allen challenging aspects of the idea of intimate privacy as a civil right, and Professor Waldman proposing that the concept of intimate privacy could help resolve data dilemmas.
Below is an overview of the panel discussion, “Examining ‘The Fight for Privacy’,” hosted by the University of Virginia School of Law, February 20, 2023.
Danielle Citron’s new book, The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity and Love in the Digital Age, illustrates the harms of violations of intimate privacy and explains why privacy should be considered a civil right.
- Daniel Solove outlines key themes in Danielle Citron’s work, as follows:
- Offers compelling stories to show how loss of privacy affects relationships, health, and other aspects of people’s welfare, helping courts recognize privacy harms.
- Develops the idea of intimate privacy, showing that privacy can support women’s welfare.
- Shows that women and marginalized people suffer more from a loss of privacy, and develops the idea of privacy as a civil right essential to preserve equality.
- Anita Allen highlights challenging aspects of the idea of intimate privacy as a civil right:
- Intimate privacy is difficult to distinguish from non-intimate privacy, as it is hard to identify any area of privacy that is not intimate.
- It is unclear what intimate privacy shares with civil rights developed in the 1960s, such as the right to equal access to education, lodging, and voting.
- Intimate privacy is threatened not only by big tech and by government, but by individuals and within families, as people use the capture of intimate images to do horrible things to one another, and the courts fail to support privacy.
- Ari Waldman proposes that the concept of intimate privacy could help resolve data dilemmas, which arise because the collection of data can be beneficial as well as harmful.
- More data about trans people could support oppression, or be used to provide better health care or better protection of their rights.
- Danielle Citron proposes protection against invasions of privacy that amount to invidious discrimination, with a baseline of privacy for everyone.
- This idea could provide a robust structure to resolve data dilemmas and promote social change that would allow people to be who they are.
- Danielle Citron notes that one idea central to her work is the importance of trust in building relationships; she is optimistic that stories about invasions of privacy could provide the moral suasion to start a mass movement leading to social, legal, and political change.
Legal Scholars Daniel Solove, Anita Allen, Ari Waldman, and Danielle Citron comment on themes in The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity and Love in the Digital Age, Danielle Citron’s new book. Professor Citron’s work tells stories of violations of intimate privacy, showing that loss of privacy affects health, opportunities, and relationships. She introduces the idea of intimate privacy as a civil right, emphasizing that privacy is needed to promote equality and protect democracy. However, intimate privacy might be difficult to distinguish from other types of privacy, and further work could be done to clarify how privacy relates to other historic civil rights. A clear definition of intimate privacy would help decide data dilemmas, which arise because data collection is sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial.
Watch the entire conversation: “Examining ‘The Fight for Privacy’,” hosted by the University of Virginia School of Law, February 20, 2023.
- “The US Needs to Recognize Intimate Privacy as a Civil Right” by Danielle Citron (Wired, October 5, 2022). In this article, Professor Citron explains why “Digital privacy invasion isn’t just a consumer protection issue. It’s inextricably linked to equality, with urgent implications for women and minorities.”
- Video: An Overview of ‘The Fight for Privacy’ with Professor Citron.
- TAP article summary for The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age
About Anita Allen
Anita L. Allen is an expert on privacy law, bioethics, and contemporary values, and is recognized for her scholarship about legal philosophy, women’s rights, and race relations. In 2010 she was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
About Daniel J. Solove
Daniel J. Solove is the Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor of Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the George Washington University Law School. He is an internationally-known expert in privacy law.
About Danielle Citron
Danielle Citron is the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professor in Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. She writes and teaches about privacy, free expression and civil rights. She is an Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Center on Internet and Society, Affiliate Fellow at the Yale Information Society Project, Senior Fellow at Future of Privacy, Affiliate Faculty at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard Law School, and a Tech Fellow at the NYU Policing Project.