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Advanced Introduction to Privacy Law

Megan Richardson

Presenting a concise, yet wide-ranging and contemporary overview of the field, this Advanced Introduction to Privacy Law focuses on how we arrived at our privacy laws, and how the law can deal with new and emerging challenges from digital technologies, social networks and public health crises. This illuminating and interdisciplinary book demonstrates how the history of privacy law has been one of constant adaptation to emerging challenges, illustrating the primacy of the right to privacy amidst a changing social and cultural landscape.
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Privacy law in transition

Megan Richardson

Extract

In December 2014, technology writer and Atlantic editor Adrienne LaFrance, summarising a recent Pew study on privacy and digital life,1 wondered whether the very meaning of privacy will be in question when ‘living a public life becomes the new default’.2 She highlighted the comment of media studies scholar Mark Andrejevic, one of the 2,500 or so experts interviewed for the study, that ‘[w]e will continue to act as if we have what we once called “privacy”, but we will know, on some level, that much of what we do is recorded, captured, and retrievable, and even further, that this information will provide comprehensive clues about aspects of our lives that we imagined to be somehow exempt from data collection’ – in short, ‘[w]e are embarked, irreversibly, I suspect, upon a trajectory toward a world in which those spaces, times, and spheres of activity free from data collection and monitoring will, for all practical purposes, disappear’, adding that ‘I suspect that conceptions of privacy will be replaced by concerns over various forms of injustice and abuse, perhaps even over particular forms of entrenched power.’3

In an apparent echo of Andrejevic’s words, digital technology scholar Shoshana Zuboff in her 2019 book Surveillance Capitalism argues that the technologies and business practices of our capitalist automated data-driven society conspire to rob us of meaningful control over our lives, adding that concepts such as privacy ‘fall short in identifying and contesting the most crucial and unprecedented facts of [the] new...

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