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Comparative Digital Privacy - Spring 2019

Professor Urs Gasser

In this interactive seminar, we will identify, map, analyze, and discuss latest developments in privacy law related to the digital environment from a comparative perspective and put them into a broader context. Specifically, in the first part of the seminar we will introduce competing theories and models of online privacy and map current policy proposals as well as regulatory action onto such a matrix. In addition to discussing theoretical frameworks and analyzing current developments in digital privacy, we will also take a closer look into qualitative and quantitative studies regarding privacy attitudes and practices online, and ask how such findings from research have shaped—or should shape—both the theoretical frameworks as well as the actual application of law. In the second part, the seminar examines in greater detail potential solutions to the concerns and harms that are presented in the first section. In our analysis, we will survey and critique both legal and non-legal solutions. We will hope to answer questions like: which institutions are the most capable of enforcing user privacy? And how can we design our technologies so that privacy values are embedded into the construction of our technological tools? In asking these questions, we will create a valuable matrix and taxonomy for recommending solutions to potential privacy harms. Finally, in the third section, we will look at specific cases that reflect current trends in privacy law. For instance, we will apply our studies earlier in the seminar towards recent developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, as well as other instances of recent tensions between privacy and other values (autonomy, transparency, etc.).

For more information about this course visit the Harvard Law School Course Catalog.