Privacy Law and Theory Seminar

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 14/16
Credits: 3
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • M
  • 1540-1740
  • WB114
09/05/2022 12/05/2022
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

We live in an information age. Businesses, governments, and individuals are busy surveilling our lives, amassing, selling, and sharing our personal data for profit, control, or sport. Such surveillance isn’t new, though the stakes are higher than ever before and the threat landscape more varied and pervasive. We have been talking about the risks to privacy posed by the era’s new technologies since Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote their famous article, “The Right to Privacy,” in 1890. That conversation grew with the prevalence of spy shops and miniature spying devices in the 1940s; the advent of computer “databanks,” “lie detector” tests, and government surveillance and extortion of journalists and civil rights activists in the 1960s-1970s; the advent of the commercial internet in the mid-1990s; and networked surveillance tools in our homes, phones, and everywhere we go in 2000s. Throughout the eras, we have been talking about what we mean by the concept of privacy, why matters to us as individuals, groups, and society, and how we ought to adapt to protect it. In this course, we will be reading great works of privacy law and theory, from (of course) the generative Warren and Brandeis article and Arthur Miller’s The Assault on Privacy and Anita Allen’s Uneasy Access to great new additions to the literature from Daniel Solove, Khiara Bridges, Julie Cohen, Sarah Igo, Neil Richards, Woody Hartzog, and Ari Waldman. The goal of the course is to give you a grounding in the theory of privacy law—our evolving conceptions of privacy and its necessity for a life of meaning and love.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: We will be reading approximately a book a week and also perhaps an article. The course is designed to credit you for your efforts—30 percent of your grade will stem from your participation. The key is the quality of your participation, not just participation for participation’s sake. Students will write a research paper as well, and it will be due via EXPO by noon on the last day of the finals period. The topic is of your choosing, of course, and I can help you identify a topic. The course grade will be a combination of class participation (30%) and the paper (70%). Students may seek instructor permission to use the paper toward their upper-level writing requirement, and the e-form to do so (available in the SRO Forms Library on LawWeb) must be submitted to SRO by October 4, 2022.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: It is a bonus for students to have taken an Information Privacy Law course, but it is absolutely not required. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: This course involves a heavy preparation workload. I expect everyone to read the assignments and be ready to talk about them. So I get it if these expectations are not for you. Join us only if you are game.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
ABA Seminar
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Tuesday, November 29, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM