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Baker: U.S. Laws Built on “Privacy Panic”

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

October 2, 2013

Was the man we might consider the “grandfather” of privacy, Louis Brandeis, in fact a “fogey,” penning his acclaimed work “The Right to Privacy” amidst a “privacy panic” brought on by the advent of inexpensive Kodak cameras over a century ago? Yes, Stewart Baker told the crowd at the IAPP Privacy Academy during his keynote address yesterday. Baker, whose career has included being the first assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security and general counsel of the National Security Agency, described the current patchwork of U.S. privacy laws as a result of “privacy panic”—reactionary, moral panic-based lawmaking built on a small but powerful subgroup’s irrational fears of technological advances.
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