Law 561A/B - Privacy and Power in the Digital Age

Richard M. Re

Richard M. Re

Co-Director, UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy
Faculty Co-Director, PULSE @ UCLA Law (Program on Understanding Law, Science & Evidence
Professor of Law
A.B. Harvard University, 2004
M. Phil. University of Cambridge, 2005
J.D. Yale Law School, 2008
UCLA Faculty Since 2014
Course Description:

Digital technologies are disrupting conventional notions of personal privacy while expanding the power of both governments and businesses. This seminar will explore these changes, predict their future trajectory, and address the role that law and lawyers might have to play. The seminar will open by discussing competing conceptions of privacy that have emerged throughout modern U.S. history. We will then explore three distinct but interrelated roles that lawyers are currently playing in emerging privacy controversies. First, federal executive branch lawyers defend national security interests while aspiring to adhere to constitutional principles. Second, public interest lawyers working for groups like the American Civil Liberties Union try to challenge governmental surveillance by advancing claims grounded in constitutional and human rights. Third, in-house counsel advance business interests while shaping corporate policies in pro- or anti-privacy directions and trying to stay on the right side of an ever-shifting legal line. Finally, our last session will focus on the future, using a recent dystopian novel to imagine where we might go from here.


Readings will be drawn from books, film, government reports, litigation materials, and newspaper and law review articles. The books are available in paperback and will be placed on reserve in the library. For one session, the assignment will be to watch a movie, which is available for rental or purchase on Amazon and iTunes; a copy of the movie will also be on reserve in the library. Other materials will be posted to MyLaw.


Dates, Times, and Expected Locations:   

Classes will take place at the instructors’ home in Westwood (2.3 miles south of the Law School) from 12:00pm-2:30pm on the following dates:
 1.  Sunday, August 28
 2.  Sunday, September 25
 3.  Sunday, October 30
 4.  Sunday, January 29
 5.  Sunday, February 26