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Understanding Privacy

Understanding Privacy

Daniel J. Solove

ISBN 9780674035072

Publication date: 03/30/2010

Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time, yet it is also one of the most elusive. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, scholars, activists, and policymakers have struggled to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible.

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive overview of the difficulties involved in discussions of privacy and ultimately provides a provocative resolution. He argues that no single definition can be workable, but rather that there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by family resemblances. His theory bridges cultural differences and addresses historical changes in views on privacy. Drawing on a broad array of interdisciplinary sources, Solove sets forth a framework for understanding privacy that provides clear, practical guidance for engaging with relevant issues.

Understanding Privacy will be an essential introduction to long-standing debates and an invaluable resource for crafting laws and policies about surveillance, data mining, identity theft, state involvement in reproductive and marital decisions, and other pressing contemporary matters concerning privacy.


  • Daniel Solove offers a unique, challenging account of how to think better about-- and of-- privacy. No scholar in America is more committed to demystifying "the right to privacy".

    —Anita L. Allen, University of Pennsylvania Law School


  • Daniel J. Solove is Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press