Information Privacy Law

Information Privacy Law - Professor David Silverman

  • Course Number: LAW-423
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 2
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: Informational privacy rights are less predictable than rights in tangible or intangible property, in that respect more like the right to be free from tortious nuisance. They lie in between property rights and human rights, partaking of both, with roots in the Constitution and common law.

Digital life adds to the complexity because the more society relies on data flows, the more important the law of information privacy becomes. Issues of privacy arise in a wide variety of legal contexts, so this course should serve you well in whatever area you may practice. Privacy or its absence also affects every person, so the course materials should engage you, whatever your personal views may be. This course will suit people with a business, technology, or IP law focus, and also has content of interest to those aiming at public service, civil litigation, policy and other law careers.

A majority of legal scholars believes that new, stricter federal statutory regulation of consumers’ informational privacy rights is needed in the United States, to prevent human rights abuses. Similar reforms have moved forward in a few states, but are blocked at the national level by a coalition of business and governmental interests. This course explores the policy issues underlying the impasse.

The material includes:

    • What privacy means, and when/how it should be protected;
    • How privacy law constrains what publishers may disclose;
    • Consumer privacy and predictive analytics;
    • Corporate stewardship of customer data;
    • Governmental and law enforcement access to and use of data;
    • Governmental records and freedom of information;
    • Health, financial and other sensitive categories of information;
    • Special or categorical privacy rights: minors, employees, prisoners, parolees, sex offenders, crime victims; and
    • International transfers of data.
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: This course requires a final examination, but up to five (5) people can write a research paper instead, subject to requirements.
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no