Recommended Titles and Treatises

American privacy: the 400-year history of our most contested right

by Frederick Lane. Beacon Press. 2009.
282 pages.

This book is a very interesting history of a “right” that we both hold dear yet often readily give up without too much thought. The author contends that while the word “privacy” was not used in the founding documents, the concept is inherent in the protections in the Bill of Rights. Personal autonomy and freedom from government intrusion are essentially privacy. This book traces the changes in American society and technology that relaxed our demand for privacy. The telegraph and the introduction of the cheaper rate for post cards made us give up privacy in communications in exchange for speed. Wars and political conflicts have shaped the government’s desire to monitor communications for the sake of security. “Privacy rights“ will continue to evolve with and because of technology and human nature.

page last updated: 23 Mar 2017 12:32 PM