December 2011

Daniel Solove’s six general types of privacy

Daniel J. Solove’s 2008 book, Understanding Privacy, attempts to characterize and understand the complex and contradictory modern views and approaches to privacy. For Solove, “[p]rivacy concerns and protections do not exist for their own sake; they exist because they have been provoked by particular problems” and it “is protection from a cluster of related problems that impinge upon our activities in related ways.”

Privacy as secrecy and privacy as autonomy

The concept of “privacy”–as in “the right to privacy”–can be understood in a number of ways. This multitude of potential meanings and uses is partly why the concept is controversial, confusing, and perhaps even contradictory. Previously I have discussed the difference in perceptions of privacy in the 19th century, where the legal focus seemed to be more on “confidentiality” than what we have come to understand as “privacy” today. That is, the 19th century concern was with maintaining trust relationships between people rather than with protecting either secrecy or autonomy (although that is not to say that these were not valued).

October 2011

Thinking about privacy and the First Amendment

This post is about Eugene Volokh’s article on free speech and privacy in relation to Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis’s 1890 law review article, “The Right to Privacy.” This highly influential piece advocated for “the fundamental right to be let alone.” But is it impossible to reconcile such a right with an equally compelling right to free speech?