Contemporary Problems in Freedom of Speech and Press – 6030

Fall 2022

NOTE: This course is cross-listed with the Journalism (JOUR) department. Some class sessions may overlap with the Law School final exam period.

Most of us use devices like Smartphones, GPS, streaming services, or hands-free speakers like Amazon's Echo that connect to online voice services like Alexa without thinking about them very much. But, what kind of information are they collecting? Are merchants allowed to gather your shopping history and use it to send you targeted advertising, or to sell it to other companies for profit? Should other people be able to post your personal information or photos online without your consent? Can the government read your emails, track your online browsing, or intercept your text messages? This course considers how growing concerns about privacy and national security affect the First Amendment and the rights of journalists to gather and report the news. We will read significant court decisions and take a look at current statutory and regulatory initiatives both in the United States and abroad. You can expect lively debates and discussion, and the opportunity to explore a privacy or national security issue in depth in a substantial research paper. The course is cross listed with Jour 5777.