News, Developments, and Insights

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Data Mining and the Security-Liberty Debate

Government Data Collection

I’ve written a short essay (about 20 pages), entitled Data Mining and the Security-Liberty Debate, for an upcoming symposium on surveillance for the U. Chicago Law Review. The symposium website is here [link no longer available]. The symposium looks to be a terrific event. The event will be held on June 15-16, 2007 (registration information is available at the symposium website). Besides myself, participants include Julie Cohen, Ronald Lee, Ira Rubenstein, Ken Bamberger, Deirdre Mulligan, Timothy Muris, Lior Strahilevitz, Anita Allen, Thomas Brown , Richard A. Epstein , Orin Kerr, Patricia Bellia, Richard A. Posner, Paul Schwartz, and Chris Slogobin.Continue Reading

On Academic Criticism


Over at Balkinization, Brian Tamanaha (law, St. John’s) writes:

A few months ago I found myself in a fix over a book review I had committed to. When the Editor asked me to do the review, I readily agreed because I have known the author (in a collegial way) for many years, and I admire his work. I expected that the book, which I had not yet seen, would be excellent. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I had very serious reservations about the argument. . . .

From now on, to avoid being in these situations, I have resolved to only write reviews for books that I truly like (which I have done with pleasure a number of times). I feel like a coward, shirking my responsibility as an academic.

I haven’t always been reluctant to offer pointed criticisms of academic work, and I still do so—as I recently did in a post about the “judicial politics” field—if I think that a useful point would come of it. But I am becoming increasingly gun shy about the whole “honest academic debate” enterprise.

One reason for my reluctance is that I know I have offended people in the past—people I like and admire—by giving my honest critical opinion on an academic matter, an opinion which I meant as a part of an intellectual exchange but which they took personally. Although I was careful to not articulate my objections in personal terms, we all take our own ideas seriously, and thus it is easy to be put off personally by criticisms of the ideas. . . .

It’s not as much fun as it used to be to have a frank exchange of ideas, at least for me. More importantly, if we all start censoring our critical thoughts out of a desire not to offend others, or to avoid provoking a backlash, academic discourse will suffer. For this reason, I hope others do not share in my cowardice.

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Neil Richards on Information Privacy

Neil Richards

Professor Neil Richards of Washington University Law School has posted on SSRN his recent essay, The Information Privacy Law Project, 94 Geo. L.J. 1087 (2006). He reviews my book, The Digital Person, and offers an interesting and insightful critique. Although he takes issue with some of my arguments and with the term “privacy,” I find his review to be mostly a friendly amendment rather than an attack. Here’s the abstract:

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Judge Posner’s Not a Suicide Pact

Not a Suicide Pact - Richard Posner

I’ve just finished reading Judge Richard Posner’s new book, Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency (Oxford, 2006). The book is a slender volume, with a remarkable feat for a law professor — absolutely no footnotes or endnotes or citations of any sort save a short bibliography at the end.

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A Taxonomy of Privacy

Daniel Solove's Taxonomy of Privacy

My article, A Taxonomy of Privacy, 154 U. Pa. L. Rev. 477 (2006), has recently been published. I have replaced an earlier draft of the article from over a year ago on SSRN with a copy of the final published version. This article is my attempt to provide a framework for understanding the concept of privacy. A diagram of my framework is above. From the abstract:

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