Alan Westin’s Privacy and Freedom

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Alan Westin Privacy and Freedom

Alan Westin Privacy and FreedomI am pleased to announce that Alan Westin’s classic work, Privacy and Freedom, is now back in print.  Originally published in 1967, Privacy and Freedom had an enormous influence in shaping the discourse on privacy in the 1970s and beyond, when the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) were developed.

The book contains a short introduction by me.  I am truly honored to be introducing such a great and important work.  When I began researching and writing about privacy in the late 1990s, I kept coming across citations to Westin’s book, and I was surprised that it was no longer in print.  I tracked down a used copy, which wasn’t as easy to do as today.  What impressed me most about the book was that it explored the meaning and value of privacy in a rich and interdisciplinary way.

A very brief excerpt from my intro:

At the core of the book is one of the most enduring discussions of the definition and value of privacy. Privacy is a very complex concept, and scholars and others have struggled for centuries to define it and articulate its value. Privacy and Freedom contains one of the most sophisticated, interdisciplinary, and insightful discussions of privacy ever written. Westin weaves together philosophy, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines to explain what privacy is and why we should protect it.

Alan WestinI was fortunate to get to know Alan Westin, as I began my teaching career at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey, and Alan lived and worked nearby.  I had several lunches with him, and we continued our friendship when I left to teach at George Washington University Law School.  Alan was kind, generous, and very thoughtful. He was passionate about ideas.  I miss him greatly.

So it is a true joy to see his book live on in print once again.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Alan Westin (1929-2013) was a Professor of Public Law & Government Emeritus, Columbia University, former publisher of Privacy & American Business, and former President of the Center for Social & Legal Research. Westin’s research in the 1960s is widely seen as the first significant work on the problem of consumer privacy and data protection. Westin defined privacy as an individual’s right “to control, edit, manage, and delete information about them[selves] and decide when, how, and to what extent information is communicated to others.” Westin’s major books on privacy, Privacy and Freedom (1967) and Databanks in a Free Society (1972), were pioneering works that prompted U.S. privacy legislation and helped launch global privacy movements in many democratic nations in the 1960s and 70s.

Resources

Alan Westin, Privacy and Freedom — Amazon.com page

Ig Publishing page for Privacy and Freedom

NY Times Obituary for Alan Westin

Peter Swire’s reflections on Alan Westin

IAPP article on Westin’s influence

Original book cover for Privacy and Freedom

5 best books about privacy – list by Jeff Rosen of the National Constitution Center

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. This post was originally posted on his blog at LinkedIn, where Solove is a “LinkedIn Influencer.” His blog has more than 900,000 followers.

Privacy+Security ForumProfessor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz of the Privacy + Security Forum (October in Washington, DC), an annual event that aims to bridge the silos between privacy and security.

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