PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

high-tech technology background with eyes on computer display

How Should the Law Handle Privacy and Data Security Harms?

law handle privacy and data security harms 1

by Daniel J. Solove

In three earlier posts, I’ve been exploring the nature of privacy and data security harms.

In the first post, Privacy and Data Security Violations: What’s The Harm?, I explored how the law often fails to recognize harm for privacy violations and data breaches.

In the second post, Why the Law Often Doesn’t Recognize Privacy and Data Security Harms, I examined why the law has struggled in recognizing harm for privacy violations and data breaches.

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Do Privacy Violations and Data Breaches Cause Harm?

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by Daniel J. Solove

In two earlier posts, I’ve been exploring the nature of privacy and data security harms.

Post 1: Privacy and Data Security Violations: What’s The Harm?

Post 2: Why the Law Often Doesn’t Recognize Privacy and Data Security Harms

In this post, I want to explore two issues that frequently emerge in privacy and data security cases: (a) the future risk of harm; and (b) individual vs. social harm.

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Privacy and Data Security Violations: What’s the Harm?

privacy and data security violation blog 1

by Daniel J. Solove

“It’s just a flesh wound.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Suppose your personal data is lost, stolen, improperly disclosed, or improperly used. Are you harmed?

Suppose a company violates its privacy policy and improperly shares your data with another company. Does this cause a harm?

In most cases, courts say no. This is the case even when a company is acting negligently or recklessly. No harm, no foul.

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NASA v. Nelson

NASA v Nelson

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided NASA v. Nelson, reversing the 9th Circuit 8-0.  My thoughts about the case are here and here, and as I predicted, the Court rejected the 9th Circuit holding that the government employment background check questionnaires violated the constitutional right to information privacy.  Fortunately, the Court kept its opinion narrow and didn’t use it as an opportunity to wipe out the constitutional right to information privacy, a right that the Court mentioned just a few times but that has taken on more of a life in the circuit courts.
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