A World Without Privacy? What Can/Should Law Do

January 17, 2014

University of Alabama School of Law
Bedsole Moot Courtroom (140)

Speaker List

The start of the 21st century is a moment of many challenges for American law, perhaps none more important than challenges posed by the rise of the digital age with its refiguring of our sense of the meaning of autonomy and of the social. But, in addition, to those challenges we live with new modalities of surveillance, new reproductive technologies, and the biotechnology revolution. Each seems to portend a world without privacy or at least a world in which the meaning of privacy is radically transformed both as a legal idea and a lived reality.

We want to examine the meaning of privacy in contemporary world and ask whether privacy is an outdated, almost romantic, ideal. How far have we come from Warren and Brandeis? Today what is the best way to conceive of the divide between the public and the private, the domain of individual autonomy defined in terms of negative freedom? Is privacy shrinking in some areas and expanding in others? Does it mean the same thing in the realm of intimate, personal activities as it does in the domain of the digital world? What were, and are, the dangers of privacy? Are our laws complicit in the erosion of privacy? Can law meet the challenge of protecting privacy from new threats or do we need new political as well as social responses?


Welcome & Introduction

    Dean William Brewbaker & Dr. Austin Sarat, University of Alabama School of Law

Session I

     Privacy: Observations from a Fifth Columnist

     Kevin Haggerty, Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta

Session II

     The Yes Men and the women Men Don’t See

     Rebecca Tushnet, Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Session III

     Four Privacy Myths

                        Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University

Session IV

     Enough About Me: Why Privacy is About Power, Not Consent or Harm

     Lisa M. Austin, Associate Professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Overview & Commentary

     Ronald Krotoszynski, John S. Stone Chairholder of Law, The University of Alabama School of Law