AbstractThis paper explores the legal system’s treatment of privacy along five dimensions. The dimensions focus on: (1) physical location, (2) the means of communication, (3) the means of intrusion, (4) subject matter, and (5) confidential relationships. The paper illustrates how reliance on some, but not others, in particular contexts serves to determine the results courts reach or statutes ordain. The papers shows the U.S. Supreme Court has systematically favored particular paradigms in ways that often make privacy protections porous. The paper then discusses the dimensions of privacy in the context of Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001), a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding liability for publishing material obtained from a private citizen who wiretapped a conversation in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
SubjectsPrivacy, Fourth amendment, First amendment, Wiretapping
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