Monday, October 15, 2012

Somebody's Watching Me

The 80s and early 90s brought a wave of songs perfect for Halloween---Thriller, the Ghostbusters theme, and the Addams Family Groove. The one that stuck with me was Somebody's Watching Me. Maybe it was too many hours spent at the skating rink, or perhaps it simply foreshadowed my legal career and interest in data privacy.

Whatever the case may be, the idea of anonymous entities (politicians, corporations, hackers to name a few current bogeymen) digging up your personal preferences, shopping habits, and Internet usage for various reasons may give you pause as well.

To get up to speed on the state of data privacy law, a Google search might help, but looking for terms like "privacy," "security," and "data" are so broad you might be digging for hours. Here are two tips to get you started:
  1. Search the library catalog for the terms "privacy," "security," and "data" but limit your search to materials found in the law library and published in 2005 or later. To do this, click "Use advanced search" under the Keyword Search box. Once you have one interesting book picked out, click on the tab "Find Similar Items" and select the subject you're interested in.
  2. Search Westlaw Next using the Advanced Search feature. (To the right of the orange "Search" button, click "Advanced Search.") This way, you have a way to limit your searches a bit better.  Using just those three search terms above and clicking the "Search" button turns up 10,000 secondary sources, which is a bit daunting if you're simply looking for a way to start your research.
You might also consider chatting up a professor for insights into seminal works in the field.