Week Three: Legal History

Tuesday, January 31st



Keywords: gossip, “right to be left alone,” “Prince Albert vs. Strange” “public or general interest limit”


  • Warren and Brandeis argue that even though the consitution doesn’t explicitly say this, that there is a “right to privacy.” Do you think they are right? Do you think the Bill of Rights is really about privacy?
  • Compare the European Convention, and Universal Decleration’s stance on privacy, how does it differ from the American concept.

Thursday, February 2nd


  • “Chapter 4: Privacy and Freedom of Expression” Wack. Privacy: A Very Short Introduction


Keywords: “Debate of Great Interest,” “Consequentalism vs Rights Based,” “Market Place of Ideas,” “Time, Inc. vs Hill”


  • One: Where do you stand on Privacy versus Free Speech? What limits and boundaries ought to be set on these rights (or maybe you don’t think these are rights or there are limits)? In your answer be sure to frame your response in reference to Wacks, specifically in which approach you take (e.g. Consequentalism or Rights Based).
  • Two: What should we do about technology? How does a change in technology alter how we might think about balancing these two interests? Does the digital era mean we need to rethink our laws in regards balancing free speech and privacy? If so what do you think we should do?

Week Two: Understanding Privacy

For Tuesday, January 24th

  • Read: Data & Goliath Bruce Schneier Chapters 1 & 2
  • Answer in Your Reading Notes
    • Keywords: Data, Data Hoarding, Mass Surveillance, Hidden Surveillance
    • Questions:
      • Schneier is just starting to scratch the surface here of all of the data that is collected. Of all the data that he lists that is collected, what most concerns/bothers/disturbs you? What makes this the case, why does this data seem important to you?
      • On page 26 Schneier says “the result of this declining cost of surveillance technology is not just a difference in price; it’s a difference in kind.” Explain (in a paragraph) what you take him to mean by this. Then give an example that helps illustrate what you think Schneier is getting at.
  • Here is a guide and sample for Reading Notes

Two Factor

  • Set up two Factor Authentication.
  • Do this for gmail (either your school or personal account) and one other online service you use (twitter, facebook, instagram, snapchat etc.)
  • Here is a tutorial on how to do it for google
  • Here is a general list of all the types of things that offer two factor
  • You may run into some trouble. That’s okay. Get started before Thursday’s class so we can talk about it in class.

For Thursday, January 26th

  • Read: “Chapter 3: A Legal Right” Wack. Privacy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Answer in Your Reading Notes
    • Keywords: Zone of Intimacy, Griswold v Connecticut, Dilemma of Privacy, Personal Information
    • Questions:
      • Wack argues that privacy is a complicated value, with no singular definition. Of the myriad factors that make up Privacy which make up privacy (secrecy, intimacy, anonymity, solitude, etc.) which do you find to be personally the most important and why?
      • Think back to a recent event where you feel your privacy (or if not you someone you are close with) was violated (try to make it something not internet/social media related), perhaps something with a friend on campus, your parents, work related, school related. Now without disclosing anything you do not want to (feel free to change names and details if you want, just keep the contours in tact) describe what happened. Using Wack’s framework/language describe what makes this a violation of privacy.

First on Privacy

For Thursday, January 19th:

  • Read in Privacy a Very Short Introduction  (Chp 2) NOTE: In class I said multiple chapters, and your paper syllabus has something slightly different. But just read Chapter 2.
  • Bring a list to class of the three most important things you learned from this reading.
  • Create a Google doc and share with dparry@sju.edu (this will be used starting next week as your reading notes)

Class Begins

Course Description

Based on your cell phone history researchers can predict where you will be 24 hours from now. You can download and install software onto a computer to monitor and capture everything a user does. Nearly every thing you buy is recorded in a database. Corporations track every page view and click. Your email is easily read by third parties. Target knows when a customer is pregnant. Even the post office scans and digitally images every piece of mail it sends. It is impossible to not leave a digital trace, and all of these traces are being collected. In this class we will look at how our digital lives intersect with and effect our privacy. Is privacy dead in the age of constant surveillance? Should we even care? And who benefits from all this data collection? We will look to answer these question both on a technological level, what is possible, and a critical level, what does this mean for democracy and society. We will also seek to put this knowledge into practice, understanding and using what tools and techniques citizens can employ to regain privacy both in their lives as individuals and citizens.

Classes Begin on Tuesday January 17th