What is the role of privacy in modern law and society? With Lawrence M. Friedman (Stanford Law School), I am writing a book on the law and social norms surrounding privacy. We explore the non-constitutional meanings of privacy in American law and culture. The book proceeds from the proposition that privacy is on the whole a modern invention, an embodiment of the notion that people feel that some aspects of life belong to them and them alone. This is a product of many social forces, but particularly the rise of individualism. Privacy law, in some sense, defines where the individual begins and ends, and where society (including the government) We consider the complicated web woven by social norms, law, technology, and sexuality, and the resulting rules that sometimes mandate privacy, sometimes make it elective, and sometimes preclude it.
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