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PRIVACY / Vol. 68, No. 1 (Spring 2001)

April 1, 2001

Arien Mack, Editor

 

Table of Contents

 

Arien Mack
Editor’s Introduction

The papers in this issue are versions of the presentations given at the Social Research conference on privacy held at New School University in October 2000. This conference was the seventh in the conference series we initiated in 1988, and the issue is the seventh that has been devoted to papers from these conferences.

 

David Bromwich
Introduction to Part I: Private/Public: The Evolution of the Distinction: Private and Public

The article focuses on the terms private and public. Jean Jacques Rousseau was a proponent of private and public life. He rejected all that privacy and publicity have made of human nature and culture. In his "Discourse on Inequality," he noted that modern society was created by the first person who ever thought to say of a thing. It is difficult to think of public life devoid of an idea of the private as its contrast and supplement. These terms exist in constant mutual tension and dependency, that an understanding of one can only be possible by referring it to the other.

 

John Hollander
The Language of Privacy

The article focuses on the various aspects of language privacy. This kind of language occurs in private circumstances that can identify or characterize the condition of privacy. It can also be referred to the notion of private language. The word private signifies regions of other words such as personal, intimate, secret and confidential. Solitude has a strong relation to the meaning of privacy and has come into public use in the past few decades. The word also designates several meanings for various people such as Greeks and Americans.

 

Joseph Rykwert
Privacy in Antiquity

The article presents several comments and views about the meaning of privacy. Comments came from the notable people in social research such as John Hollander, Nikolai Bukharin, George Walden and Hannah Arendt. Arendt pointed out that the word privacy means literally a state of being deprived of something and even the highest of man's capacity. She discussed several conditions and circumstances that can be associated with the occurrence of privacy including the emotions of people. She also emphasized the root of the privative sense of privacy.

 

Fredrick Wiseman
Privacy and Documentary Filmmaking

The article provides the author's discussion of some practical problems and privacy issues involved in obtaining the consent of people to their inclusion in his documentary films. He makes the documentary films based on the photographs and voices of people who give their permission to be included in the film. He discusses the factors involved in obtaining their consent. Some people agree to be included in the film for a variety of reasons. Some of them want others to know about their experience while some people agree to participate out of vanity.

 

Frederick Schauer
Introduction to Part II: Privacy and the Law: The Legal Construction of Privacy

The article presents an introduction of various reports on privacy that were discussed within the issue of the periodical including one by David Richards on the public understanding of privacy and another by David Garrow on the relation of privacy to the American constitution.

 

David J. Garrow
Privacy and the American Constitution

The article reports on the privacy and the American Constitution. Under the modern constitutional tradition of the US, both "privacy" as a single word and the "right to privacy" as a legal concept are almost associated with the famous Supreme court ruling of 1965, the Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down a long-standing state criminal statute that prohibited the use of contraceptives even by married couples. Authored by Justice William O. Douglas, the court's majority opinion in Griswold case offered a paean to the importance of marriage in American life but failed to provide any constitutional grounding for the recognition of a "right" that was not itself specifically named anywhere in the Constitution’s own text.

 

David A. J. Richards
Is My Body My Property?

The article reports on the illustrations of the legal construction of privacy which has been the development and elaboration, under the American constitutional law, of the constitutional right to privacy. The author's argument concerning this development consists of two stages. First is the discussion of the main lines of this development, which focused on the case of application of the right to gay/lesbian sexuality that remains controversial. Second is the development of a normative argument that connects this development to important features of political liberalism, including the place of private spheres in liberalism's conception of just government.

 

Charles Nesson

Part III: Keynote Address: Threats to Privacy

The article reports on the threats to privacy. With the advent of the Internet and its connectivity, an all-encompassing surveillance network may compromise the public's privacy. The efficient technologies of data processing and digital surveillance devices are cameras, and microphones. Simson Garfinkel and David Brin suggests the breadth and immediacy of technology's right to privacy. In "Database Nation," Garfinkel describes a thwarted effort in the late sixties to establish a massive central database of citizen information to be administered and controlled by the US government.

 

Louis Menand
Introduction to Part I: Private/Public: The Evolution of the Distinction: Private and Public

The article discusses various reports published within the issue including one by Ruth Yazell on the complexities of the private in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century British novel, and another by Nancy K. Miller on the story of Mary McCarthy's famous literary reference to contraception.

 

Ruth Bernard Yeazall
Sexuality, Shame, and Privacy in the English Novel

The article reports on the sexuality, shame, and privacy in the English novels. The story of Genesis implies that there is something shameful about the body and that the couple must conceal themselves from each other. Sex and privacy have always been entangled with one another since the start and neither was an invention of the eighteenth century. The author discusses the works of four novelists over the last two and a half centuries. These novelists are Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and David Lodge, who all suggest what happens to the representation of shame and intimacy under changing economic and social conditions.

 

David Bromwich
How Publicity Makes People Real

The article reports on how publicity makes the people real. The author aims to describe a mood that all Americans have lived with, the mood of broadcast intimacy. This occurs in the haze of euphoria that is the very element of the media and that only the artist informed by irony can hope to convey. Remarks of artists who have been close observers of American mass culture are also presented. The success of publicity, not the going public but the making public of oneself is to merge the private with the general conception of who one is. Market research and politics share with the media the assumption that anyone's life may have to be coaxed into publicity.

 

Nancy K. Miller
Women's Secrets and the Novel: Remembering Mary McCarthy's The Group

The author talks about women's secrets featuring Mary McCarthy's novel The Group. She cites some of the stories written by Mary McCarthy depicting the attitude of women towards sex and contraception. She emphasizes on the feeling a woman has when she writes her own sexual experiences, publishes it and let men and other women read it. She also traces how Mary McCarthy came to complete the novel and presents a review of the novel itself. She asserts that McCarthy's dare finds its importance in the persistence of the word and its referent for the world of readers.

 

George Kateb
Introduction to Part V: Invasions of Privacy: Violations of Boundaries: Invasions of Privacy

The article discusses various reports published within the issue including one by Frederick Schauer on informational privacy and another by Jeffrey Rosen on new technologies for disseminating personal information.

 

Jeffrey Rosen
Out of Context: The Purposes of Privacy

The author talks about the purposes of privacy and presents objections about the book "The Unwanted Gaze." He cites the case of Lawrence Lessig whose resignation as the special master in overseeing the antitrust dispute between the government and Microsoft has been demanded because of an email he wrote. He explores some of the objections regarding his thesis published in "The Unwanted Gaze." He emphasizes that the problem of being judged out of context is a problem of privacy. He also discusses privacy as an autonomy.

 

Frederick Schauer
Free Speech and the Social Construction of Privacy

The author reflects on the rights to freedom of speech and press and the social construction of privacy. He asserts that the right to privacy is more socially contingent, more socially constructed than other rights. He claims that law does not just stand by as an innocent observer, but rather influences man's social and cultural practices as well as conceptual understanding. The claims of social construction should not be pushed too far because privacy as socially constructed does not mean it is not subject to normative evaluation and critique.

 

Jean L. Cohen
Introduction to Part VI: Privacy and the State

The article reports on the illustrations of the legal construction of privacy which has been the development and elaboration, under the American constitutional law, of the constitutional right to privacy. The author's argument concerning this development consists of two stages. First is the discussion of the main lines of this development, which focused on the case of application of the right to gay/lesbian sexuality that remains controversial. Second is the development of a normative argument that connects this development to important features of political liberalism, including the place of private spheres in liberalism's conception of just government.

 

Fatos Lubonja

Privacy in a Totalitarian Regime

The article presents a discussion about the privacy regarding the totalitarian rule of government in Albania and its implications to violations of human rights and freedoms under the mentioned rule, including imprisonment, surveillance, espionage, the intimidation given by the communist forces to the people, fear and brainwashing. It tells of the experiences of an inmate at the Burrel prison who spent several years of imprisonment. It mentions that the prisoner at Burrel lived his daily life in a cell in the company of 10 other prisoners.

 

Avishai Margalit

Privacy in the Decent Society

The article presents a discussion about privacy in a given decent community. It states that privacy is somewhat the same as the urgency in other aspects of political and sociological doctrines such as the urgency and epistemic priority to adopt negative politics over positive politics. It explains that the humiliation in the invasion of privacy is a natural element of the general concern with and advocacy of a non-humiliating society. It mentions that a decent society is a society whose institutions do not humiliate those who are dependent on them.

 

George Kateb
On Being Watched and Known

The article presents a discussion about the right of every person to privacy. It states the most of the time, arguments of the subject of privacy is centered in worry over easily recognizable influence on people when their privacy is violated. It mentions that if a person's house is entered without a valid warrant, a court will usually find that the government has seriously harmed that person's privacy. However, when government does not honor that entitlement and remedy, citizens may still say that a person has been harmed in his or her vital claims.

 

Kenneth Prewitt
Introduction to Part VII: Is Privacy Now Possible? A Discussion

The article presents a discussion about the right of every person to privacy. It states that privacy is simultaneously possible and impossible, which depends on shifting legal norms, public expectations, and technological developments. It also depends on whether a person's social status welcomes intrusion. It explains that the social status of a person is bordered by three aspects, including the market economy, the state, and the civil society. It emphasizes that attitudes toward and protection of privacy are based on contract negotiations at the borders of market, state, and society.

 

Anita L. Allen
Is Privacy Now Possible? A Brief History of an Obsession

The article presents a discussion of the aspects of privacy and a brief history related to the issue. It states that there are two peculiarities that determines privacy. The first peculiarity is that the anxiety sometimes seems out of proportion to the threat. An example of the first peculiarity is the affluent, and a great chunk of the middle and working classes, have considerable physical privacy and personal autonomy. The second peculiarity about the anxiety of the age is that all the talk about the involuntary loss of privacy coincides with a good deal of voluntary waiver and alienation of privacy.

 

Jerry Burman and Paula Bruening
Is Privacy Still Possible in the Twenty-First Century?

The article offers information on the possibility of privacy in the twenty-first century. The expansion of government and commercial transactions, and the proliferation of technological developments over the last 50 years have threatened privacy. The use of the Internet in information gathering facilitates faster transfer of personal information. Cellular telephones and wireless communication systems provide more efficient delivery of information. Relative to this, the legal system has laid foundation for protection of privacy through state and federal legislation, court decisions, and self-regulation.

 

Jean L. Cohen

The Necessity of Privacy

The article offers information on the necessity of privacy. The author, through the book Sex, Privacy and the Constitution: Dilemmas of Regulating Intimacy, pondered on the implications of cultural and social changes in the understanding of gender, sex, and sexuality that have inspired the development of the new line of constitutional privacy analysis elaborated by David Garrow in his contribution to the periodical. It is noted that privacy is an essential factor for intimacy.

 

Theresa M. McGovern
Is Privacy Now Possible?

The article offers information on the possibility of privacy. Most of the author's legal work centered on violations of medical privacy. As the Executive Director of the HIV Law Project, she has witnessed the effect of medical privacy violations on an extremely vulnerable client population. When family members, neighbors, health or social services personnel reveal a client's HIV status, the disclosure often led to domestic violence, eviction from housing, or other kinds of abuse. She has represented many children who faced discrimination because their teachers had manifested their HIV conditions to other parents and staff. The mandatory HIV testing of newborns and mothers is discussed.

 

Maggie Scarf
Secrets for Sale

The article offers information on medical privacy. The case of Ann Linehan, a Boston woman who went to her health maintenance organization for routine cure of a urinary tract infection, is mentioned. She was dismayed that her medical records had been kept in a computerized medical record that was accessible to doctors, nurses, clerks assistants, and other medical personnel. This reached a reporter of the Boston Globe, and the series of articles written about this raised controversy in that city. Relative to this development, the Massachusetts legislature enacted more definite and effective privacy laws.

 

 

 

 

 

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