Information Privacy Law
(LAWJ-342-07)
Georgetown University Law Center

Prof. Marc Rotenberg
Spring 2014

(Version: April 11, 2014)

DESCRIPTION

This course examines "information privacy," an individual's right to control his or her personal information held by others. The aim of the course is to understand how courts and Congress seek to protect information privacy as new technologies and new institutional practices emerge. The course traces the origins of the right to information privacy in American law through Constitutional law, tort law, and modern statutory law. Case studies of landmark privacy legislation illustrate how expectations of privacy are translated into legal frameworks. The course looks at recent controversies involving domestic surveillance, identification systems, social networking sites, video surveillance, DNA databases, and airport body scanners. The course also considers the impact of the European privacy directive, the growth of the Internet, and the availability of cryptography and other Privacy Enhancing Technologies on the future of privacy law in the United States. See http://www.epic.org/misc/gulc/.

NOTES AFTER FIRST CLASS

QUESTIONS FOR CLASS 1

Is the NSA telephone record collection program lawful? May Facebook use your image for commercial endorsement? Is Target liable for the misuse of password informaiton for identity theft? What if Snapchat simply hides images instead of deleting them? Do users have recourse? Is there a way to bridge the privacy approaches of the United States and the European Union? Should the Foriegn Intelligence Surveillance Court review National Security Letters? And why is everyone talking about Smith v. Maryland? These are just a few of the questions we aim to explore during the 2014 edition of Information Privacy Law. Our larger purpose is to understand the development of modern privacy law against the background of competing commercial and national security claims, rapidly developing technologies, and the global Internet. That should keep us busy for at least a few hours each week.

NOTES - April 11, 2014

A NOTE ABOUT THE 2014 SEMINAR

This year I am developing a new casebook on Information Privacy Law. So, there is no casebook. Most of the reading assignmemnts will be posted online. The assignments will typically follow a simple structure: I will assign the foundational case, statute, or article, and then one or two recent opinons that demonstrate the application of the doctrine to a current problem. Don't be too concerned if you don't understand all of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. No one does. But do try to understand the significance of all of the assignments for our class discussions and for the development of modern privacy law.

There is a high probabibility this spring that we will see privacy law develop in real-time.

Also, there will be no class on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. In lieu of class, I will ask you to watch or attend one significant privacy hearing, conference, or argument during the spring semeseter and then prepare a five-page paper that summarizes the issue before Congress or the court and what you expect the outcome to be. Details about sepecific events will follow. Also, I am counting on the Supreme Court to grant cert in Riley v. California, petition for cert. filed (U.S. July 30, 2013) (No. 13-132). If that happens, we will have a spectactular and very timely class on February 26. If not, we may need to make other plans.

Finally, real privacy experts say "Fair Information Practices" not "Fair Information Practice Principles." These things matter.

LOGISTICS

Information Privacy Law meets WEDNESDAY evenings, 5:45 to 7:45 in Hotung1000. Information Privacy Law is a two-credit seminar. The exam is scheduled for May 7, 2013. There is no paper option. To contact me, send email to rotenberg@epic.org or call 202-483-1140x106.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT

Here are ten concepts you should understand after taking this class:
Week 1 (Jan 15) Introduction to Privacy Law
Administration Topics Reading
No classes (Jan 22) Marc in Brussels

Week 2 (Jan 29) Common Law: The Privacy Torts
Topics Reading
Week 3 (Feb 5) Privacy, the First Amendment, Anonymity and Sensitive Data
Topics Reading
Week 4 (Feb 12) Privacy and the Fourth Amendment
Topics Reading
No classes (Feb 19) Faculty retreat

Week 5 (Feb 26) Wiretap Law
Topics
Reading
Week 6 (Mar 6) Int'l Privacy Law I: Classic Frameworks
Guest Speaker

Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant European Data Protection Supervisor

Topics

Reading
No class (Mar 12) Spring break

Week 7 (Mar 19) Privacy by Statute I: Government Databases
Topics
Reading
Week 8 (Mar 26) Privacy by Statute II: Private Sector Databases
Topics
Reading
Week 9 (Apr 2) The Role of the Federal Trade Commission
Topics
Reading
Week 10 (Apr 9) Supreme Court: Riley v. Calfornia, No. 13-132 (Cell phone searches)
Reading
Week 11 (Apr 16) Int'l Privacy Law II: Emerging Law and Institutions / Technology and Privacy
Topics Reading
Week 12 (Apr 23)Big Data and the Future of Privacy

Topics

Reading