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The Privacy Spiral

From the Spring 2009 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 4. Much of our modern legal concept…

From the Spring 2009 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 4.

Much of our modern legal concept of personal privacy took form in the 1970s, when concern about governmental intrusion was at a peak. Congress distilled into law the principle that bureaucrats should closely guard what private data they keep on us.

Since then, that legal principle has been manipulated into both a pretext for government secrecy and a backdoor defamation tort. Journalists, caught in the middle of those twists, and desperate to guard their work, have been left to argue for a reinterpretation of the law. This warped concept of privacy protection has served the government well, perhaps. But what about the rest of us?

A report in four parts.