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

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

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"Gajda's chronicle reveals an enduring tension between principles of free speech and respect for individuals' private lives. ...just the sort of road map we could use right now."--The Atlantic

"Wry and fascinating...Gajda is a nimble storyteller [and] an insightful guide to a rich and textured history that gets easily caricatured, especially when a culture war is raging."--The New York Times

An urgent book for today's privacy wars: the surprising history of the fitful development of the right to privacy--and its battle against the public's right to know.

The battle between an individual's right to privacy and the public's right to know has been fought for centuries. The founders demanded privacy for all the wrong press-quashing reasons. Supreme Court jus­tice Louis Brandeis famously promoted First Amend­ment freedoms but argued strongly for privacy too; and presidents from Thomas Jefferson through Don­ald Trump confidently hid behind privacy despite intense public interest in their lives.

Today privacy seems simultaneously under siege and surging. And that's doubly dangerous, as legal expert Amy Gajda argues. Too little privacy can mean extraordinary profits and power for people who deal in and publish soul-crushing secrets. Too much means the famous and infamous can cloak themselves in secrecy. Seek and Hide carries us from the very start, when privacy concepts first entered American law and society, to now, when the law al­lows a Silicon Valley titan to destroy a media site like Gawker out of spite. Muckraker Upton Sinclair, like Nellie Bly before him, pushed the envelope of privacy and propriety and then became a privacy advocate when journalists used the same techniques against him. By the early 2000s we were on our way to today's full-blown crisis in the digital age, worrying that smartphones, webcams, basement publishers, and the forever internet had erased the right to privacy completely.

Should everyone have privacy in their personal lives? Can privacy exist in a public place? Is there a right to be forgotten even in the United States? Is it too late to get control of data privacy? This fascinat­ing and necessary book shows us how the answers may not be what you expect, or hope, how technol­ogy makes these issues more complicated than ever before, and how we can learn from the mistakes of the past as we try to balance privacy and First Amend­ment freedoms in a modern age.

Author: Amy Gajda
Publisher: Viking
Published: 04/12/2022
Pages: 400
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.35lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.40w x 1.50d
ISBN: 9781984880741

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 11/01/2021 pg. 23
Publishers Weekly 01/24/2022
Publishers Weekly 01/31/2022 pg. 62
Kirkus Reviews 02/15/2022
Library Journal 02/04/2022 pg. 1

About the Author

Amy Gajda is the Class of 1937 Professor of Law at Tulane Law School and a former journalist and one of the country's top experts on privacy and the media. She was an award winning legal commentator on Illinois Public Radio stations and has written for the New York Times and Slate and provided expert commentary for the New Yorker, the Guardian, the New York Times, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, AP, as well as C-SPAN, the CBS Morning News, and many more.

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