PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

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Is Interdisciplinary Legal Study a Luxury?

Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

Over at Balkinization, Professor Brian Tamanaha (St. John’s School of Law) argues that most law schools should abandon their vigorous pursuit of interdisciplinary studies in law:

[P]erhaps detailed knowledge of the social sciences—anything beyond rudimentary information every educated person should possess—is irrelevant to the practice of law.

It seems evident that one can be an excellent lawyer without knowing any of this interdisciplinary stuff, while it is not obvious that learning this will make a person a better lawyer. A stronger case can be made that this information might improve the performance of judges, but a more efficient way to deliver this benefit is to set up classes (in economics, statistics, etc.) for sitting judges—programs which now exist.

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Book Review: Lawrence Friedman’s Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets

Guarding Life's Dark Secrets

Professor Lawrence M. Friedman (Stanford Law School)
Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy
(Stanford University Press, November 2007)
ISBN: 978-0-8047-5739-3

Professor Lawrence Friedman‘s Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy is a wonderful and accessible history of the norms and law that shaped reputation over the past two centuries. Friedman’s book builds on some of his earlier work on norms and law in the Victorian era which I found immensely useful as I wrote my book, The Future of Reputation. Whereas my book mostly explores the present and future challenges to protecting reputation, Friedman’s explores the past. His book is written in a lively and engaging style, and it is fascinating.

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We Hate Rankings, But We Love Them Too

US News Rankings Law Schools

In an earlier post here [link no longer available], Dave Hoffman adds another quibble about Brian Leiter’s citation rankings of law professors. Several others have voiced criticisms about the rankings, including Mary Dudziak and Brian Tamanaha.

In the comments to Dave’s post, Marty Lederman and Brian Leiter get into a debate about the rankings, with Marty saying that the rankings don’t produce much in the way of surprises. In other words, the rankings tell us what we already know. Brian responds that the rankings do reveal a few suprises, but he agrees that the rankings aren’t giving us any shocking news.

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Noteworthy Privacy Law Scholarship: 2006

Privacy Scholarship

As there are tons of new scholarly works in the privacy law field each year, I thought it might be useful to point out a few books and articles that I found particularly interesting and useful from the past year. This post will cover only those books and articles published in 2006.
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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