Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1396888
 
 

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Privacy and the Limits of History


Neil M. Richards


Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

August 3, 2011

Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2009
Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 09-06-05

Abstract:     
A short review essay of Lawrence Friedman's "Guarding Life's Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy" (Stanford Press 2007). The essay argues that Friedman tells a nuanced and compelling story of the rise and fall of the "Victorian Compromise," a series of interlocking legal doctrines protecting the reputations of elites around the turn of the twentieth century. "Dark Secrets" undeniably advances our understanding of both the genesis of privacy law and the relationships between law and culture in the Gilded Age. As a work of legal history, it is an instant classic - a must-read for anyone interested in privacy law. But although Dark Secrets is first-rate legal history, it is less successful in its latter chapters when Friedman shifts his focus from the past to the present. The limits of Friedman's social criticism raise important questions about the ability of history alone to provide answers to social problems in our modern, networked information society.

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Date posted: April 29, 2009 ; Last revised: August 4, 2011

Suggested Citation

Richards, Neil M., Privacy and the Limits of History (August 3, 2011). Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2009; Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 09-06-05. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1396888

Contact Information

Neil M. Richards (Contact Author)
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law ( email )
Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
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