The Privacy Law Seminar explores United States privacy law and may include brief coverage of foreign privacy law. The seminar introduces students to a sampling of privacy law and provides an opportunity to focus on a particular privacy law area while improving writing skills. Each student is expected to create a high-quality academic-style paper that meets the School's rigorous writing requirement. Peer comments on paper drafts and guidance from the professor provide a framework for development of writing skills.
The course introduces the idea of a body of privacy law, but reveals the hit-and-miss approach that characterizes constitutional, common law, statutory, and regulatory privacy law in the United States. Students will examine examples of privacy law in information and decisional privacy areas involving topics such as media, health, criminal investigation, anonymity, employment, public records, consumer behavior, and various aspects of personal autonomy. Not all aspects of privacy law will be covered each semester. Students will discover that privacy law is a growing area of practice with challenges of harmonizing state, federal, and foreign laws. Reliance on law journal articles as the major resource for the course will support exploration of the role of scholarship in shaping this evolving area of law.