An Overview of Privacy Law

39 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015 Last revised: 1 Nov 2015

See all articles by Daniel J. Solove

Daniel J. Solove

George Washington University Law School

Paul M. Schwartz

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: October 5, 2015


Chapter 2 of PRIVACY LAW FUNDAMENTALS provides a brief overview of information privacy law – the scope and types of law. The chapter contains an historical timeline of major developments in the law of privacy and data security.

PRIVACY LAW FUNDAMENTALS is a distilled guide to the essential elements of U.S. data privacy law. In an easily-digestible format, the book covers core concepts, key laws, and leading cases.

Professors Daniel Solove and Paul Schwartz clearly and concisely distill all relevant information about privacy law into this short volume. PRIVACY LAW FUNDAMENTALS is designed to be like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style for the privacy field – the essential handy reference guide that cuts right to the heart of each topic.

The book covers the key provisions of all of the major privacy statutes and regulations: COPPA, DPPA, ECPA, FCRA, FERPA, FISA, FTC Act, GLBA, HIPAA, Privacy Act, VPPA, and more. In addition, it summarizes key state privacy laws such as data security breach notification statutes and provides an overview of FTC enforcement actions. The authors provide numerous charts and tables summarizing the privacy statutes (i.e. statutes with private rights of action, preemption, and liquidated damages, among other things).

Topics areas covered include: the media, domestic law enforcement, national security, government records, health and genetic data, financial information, consumer data, data security, education privacy, employment privacy, and international privacy law.

Keywords: privacy, cybersecurity, data security, FTC, Fourth Amendment, First Amendment, criminal procedure, surveillance, HIPAA, data breach

Suggested Citation

Solove, Daniel J. and Schwartz, Paul M., An Overview of Privacy Law (October 5, 2015). Chapter 2 of PRIVACY LAW FUNDAMENTALS (published by IAPP, 2015); GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2015-45; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-45. Available at SSRN:

Daniel J. Solove (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-9514 (Phone)


Paul M. Schwartz

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Boalt Hall #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics