‘Privacy – do we have that now?’ The question was put to me by an obviously sceptical immigration official as I entered the Netherlands in October 2018, on my way to the Amsterdam Privacy Conference. Despite my efforts at justifying my field in the next few seconds, I’m afraid not very articulately (in my defence I was coming off a flight from Melbourne), I was left with the impression that he remained unconvinced. I could understand the question – it is one I have often been asked in various guises over many years. There are so many reasons to think that despite our efforts at regulating for privacy in the current technological and social environment the law offers only marginal support for the boundaries and controls that individuals and groups seek to maintain. And especially now, in the midst of a pandemic where surveillance seems key to survival, we might wonder about the future of privacy given that, as philosopher Yuval Noah Harari says,1 ‘for the first time in human history, technology makes it possible to monitor everyone all the time’. On the other hand, much can be learnt from taking a longer view of the law’s successful adaptations in the face of earlier new technologies and practices which have also challenged privacy. The insight is a starting point for this Advanced Introduction to Privacy Law.
This book falls within a genre of short books considering the state of privacy and privacy law in today’s changing world. It...
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