Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy

Viking. Apr. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781984880741. $30.00. LAW
With this stimulating, thoughtful work Gajda (Tulane Law Sch.; The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press) argues that though the privilege of the press to print newsworthy information is a cornerstone of free speech, it has historically been tempered by privacy concerns. She opens with a quick primer on United States law for unfamiliar readers, then explores prominent court cases, dating back to the founding of the United States, that touch on privacy and the press. A common theme throughout is the balance between prominent individuals who want to protect their privacy preserved and the right of the public to be informed. Additionally, Gajda interrogates how evolving technologies influence popular perceptions of privacy. A large portion of the work centers on the seminal article “The Right to Privacy” (1890), written by Sam Warren and Louis Brandeis for the Harvard Law Review, on which many legal opinions are based. Further developments in journalism are also examined, including the development of an industry-wide code of ethics. Finally, Gajda considers modern privacy issues such as the “right to be forgotten,” data collection, political figures, and surveillance.
VERDICT A fascinating and thought-provoking analysis of the history of privacy issues that will be accessible to a general audience.
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