• Prof. Lamdan

Class 1 Overview: Introduction to Open Government & Data Privacy

Welcome to Law Sem III!

This semester, we'll be doing two things:

  1. Revisiting the lessons we learned in Law Sems I and II and strengthening our lawyering skills

  2. Learning about the federal government's privacy, transparency, and data governance in the era of online information access and "big data"

Today's reading plunges us into the divide between government transparency and personal privacy exposing the grey area where questions remain over what should be private and what should be public.

We will spend this semester thinking about that grey area, and different types of information and data governance, including transparency laws and privacy policies. We will consider where government intervention may or may not be warranted.

Data governance is an emerging area of law and policy. As lawyers, we can participate in decisionmaking about how data access and privacy should be regulated. As you read today's assigned cases and commentary, consider the implications of government transparency, modern technology, and your reaction to the concept of "privacy for the people, transparency for the government."

What do you think about the Supreme Court's decisions about privacy in Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989) and RCFP's analysis? How does the Court's approach to personal privacy in a FOIA context relate to government surveillance? Why do you think governments may have different approaches to privacy when they release government records versus when they develop surveillance programs?

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