Understanding Privacy, Volume 10

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2008 - Law - 257 pages
9 Reviews

Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time, yet it is also one of the most elusive. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, scholars, activists, and policymakers have struggled to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible.

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive overview of the difficulties involved in discussions of privacy and ultimately provides a provocative resolution. He argues that no single definition can be workable, but rather that there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by family resemblances. His theory bridges cultural differences and addresses historical changes in views on privacy. Drawing on a broad array of interdisciplinary sources, Solove sets forth a framework for understanding privacy that provides clear, practical guidance for engaging with relevant issues.

Understanding Privacy will be an essential introduction to long-standing debates and an invaluable resource for crafting laws and policies about surveillance, data mining, identity theft, state involvement in reproductive and marital decisions, and other pressing contemporary matters concerning privacy.

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Daniel Solove's book -- and his approach to classifying and dealing with privacy problems -- will have a profound impact on all future privacy debates. In that sense, it is a vital text; a must read for all who follow, or engage in, privacy debates.
On the other hand, Solove's claim that he can construct a new paradigm based strictly on a pragmatic, utilitarian, "problem-solving" approach, is ultimately a failure. There is just no getting around the fact that, at some point, you are going to have to provide a more robust theory of rights or justice to explain why one right trumps another. He fails to do so in this book.
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User Review  - Quincey - Goodreads

Looks at the idea of privacy and the law of privacy from multiple perspectives. I am still pushing myself through the literature of privacy in other books, but this book seems to be comprehensive with a great review of case law and law reviews on the subject. Read full review


Theories of Privacy and Their Shortcomings
Reconstructing Privacy
The Value of Privacy

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About the author (2008)

Daniel J. Solove is associate professor, George Washington University Law School, and an internationally known expert in privacy law. He is frequently interviewed and featured in media broadcasts and articles, and he is the author of "The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age," He lives in Washington, D.C., and blogs at the popular law blog http: //www.concurringopinions.com.

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