The Legal Erosion of Privacy

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Too bad, you say, that Monica Lewinsky couldn’t protect her email privacy — even for messages that she’d drafted but never sent to President Clinton, or anyone else. Too bad that the old skirt-chaser in the Senate, Bob Packwood, couldn’t keep the silliest musings in his personal diary out of the Washington Post.

Too bad but not threatening, you say, because you don’t run with politicians; you’re not a public figure. Then what about magazine writer Celia Farber, whose boss got sued for sexual harrassment: the other women in the office were only witnesses, not defendants; but the burden fell on them to prove with datebooks and diaries and defensive testimony that their by-lines and promotions had not been won with sexual favors.

Could you enforce, in a pinch, your constitutional right to be let alone? From drug testing? From sexual outing? From publication? Should we have read all those Nixon tapes?
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Jeffrey Rosen, Professor at George Washington University and author of The Unwanted Gaze, talks about the legal erosion of privacy.