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Is it time for a national Digital Bill of Rights?

February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

The concern for privacy has grown over the years, and today we are bombarded with every online service imaginable informing us of their ever-changing privacy policies. Such statements are often long and difficult to comprehend. When I ask my university students where privacy is guaranteed in the Constitution, I get many guesses -- but ultimately, they learn the answer is nowhere -- at least not directly. The closest issue to privacy in the early years of our nation was property. How things have evolved!

Concerns over protecting private property and possessions morphed into privacy of the human body, and later to protections to meet the rapidly growing field of communications. For example, the growth of newspapers increased concerns for privacy and remedies to protect against misinformation and slander. The advent of handheld cameras raised concerns for unauthorized use of pictures taken without permission. Concerns grew over the privacy of telegraph communications and then landline telephony.

Read more from Alan Shark, NAPA Fellow