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Law Courses Catalog

Information Privacy Law

  • Typically offered every other year

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2017-2018 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 


The phenomenon of big data, in its scale and in the speed with which it has transformed the legal landscape of personal privacy, demands the attention of a well-prepared law graduate. The ownership and stewardship of information are important in various legal fields, 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 will engage you, whatever your personal view about how information is owned and monetized may be. The wealth of exciting material includes:

  • How privacy law constrains what media and other publishers may reveal;
  • What employers may do with respect to employees’ privacy and data;
  • How victims of identity theft or related privacy wrongs may seek remedies;
  • Aspects of governmental and law enforcement access to and use of data;
  • Helping clients navigate boundaries around corporate use of customer data;
  • Health, financial and other sensitive categories of data;
  • International privacy and business across jurisdictional borders;
  • U.S. national security aspects and constitutional constraints; and
  • Who has what duty to try to safeguard data against malicious third parties.

This course meets only once per week. You should not choose this course unless you expect to be able to attend all the sessions, because class participation will weigh on the evaluation.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2017-2018 academic year.

The collection and use of personally identifiable information by both governments and private businesses has increased exponentially in recent years, as have data breaches, identity theft, and data corruption and misuse. As a result, privacy is in the forefront of public consciousness. This course surveys and analyzes privacy issues driven by the evolution of technology and affected by privacy legislation, both domestic and international.

The following topics will be discussed:

  1. data breach notification statutes
  2. international data privacy and security laws
  3. domestic data privacy and security laws pertaining to the following: business practices, financial information, healthcare information, educational information, employment information, telecommunications and marketing information, online child exploitation, and government surveillance and access to communications
  4. privacy issues in investigations and litigation
  5. best practices for implementing a comprehensive privacy and security program

As privacy affects all areas of law, this course will have broad relevance to students, whether they plan to practice in the compliance, litigation, or transactional context. It will be especially relevant to students who plan on developing a privacy or information security practice as all companies have information systems, and with information systems come privacy and security issues. Students who plan to practice in the area of civil or human rights should consider taking this course. Students interested in criminal prosecution, criminal defense, or national security will also find the course interesting.

NB: Though this course will occasionally discuss decisional-privacy law (as a comparative tool), decisional privacy is covered in Constitutional Law II.