Course - Law


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The right to privacy is a puzzle. It must coexist with other countervailing policies like free speech, law enforcement, national security, and public access to government records. This course will explore a range of contexts in which the courts, and other branches of government, have attempted to give definition to a legal right to privacy. Privacy is in a special period of development right now as the law adjusts to the Internet and other new technologies that facilitate the collection and dissemination of personal information. Since nearly every private industry and public agency has an interest in current and proposed privacy laws, the demand for privacy experts is great.


This course is a hybrid between a doctrinal course, laying down the fundamentals, and a seminar course delving into contemporary controversies. The readings are divided into 13 modules (plus an introduction.) Each module covers a discrete topic in privacy law with an eye toward the subtopics that are currently in the throes of litigation or public debate.



The required textbook is the fourth edition of "Information Privacy Law" by Daniel Solove and Paul Schwartz. I will also use a D2L course page to post materials and make announcements.

Course Format

We will cover one module per class. For each module, you are expected to have read all of the required readings. We will spend most of the class time understanding and synthesizing the required materials, but I and my expert panelists (see below) will augment the discussion with the supplemental (non-required) reading materials listed on the syllabus.


Expert Panel: Every student will serve as an expert for one or two modules (depending on the class size.)  I will send around a sign-up sheet during the first class so that you have some amount of choice. On the day that we cover your expert module, you must come to class prepared to discuss the required and some of the supplemental readings that appealed to you. 


Blog Post: Every student is also required to write a blog post of approximately 1200 words (on D2L or on a personal blog) about a focused topic in privacy law. You can write about a recent case, a case currently in litigation, a proposed privacy bill, a new technology or industry practice relevant to privacy, or any other newsworthy issue that allows you to make and support a clear legal or policy argument. The supplemental materials listed on the syllabus can give you some ideas. This is meant to provide an avenue for you to think and write about a topic that happens to pique your interest

Written Assignments

Short blog post. (See above.)

Type of Exam

This course will have a four hour open-book take-home exam. 

Basis for grading
Your grade for the course will be based on a blog post (25%), a final examination (65%), and participation during your expert panel days (10%).
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