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Course Schedule
(The full syllabus is linked here)

Week 1 (January 17 & January 19): Data Capitalism

Why is data such a big deal these days? Why are companies so interested in collecting it, and what is its role in systems of commercial, political, and policing power? This week we will learn what data is and how it's being used for profit and control.

Week 2 (January 24 & January 26): Privacy in the Law

Did you know that there's no explicit right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution? And did you know that Congress has not passed any comprehensive data privacy legislation? This week we will learn about the history of privacy law and policy in the U.S. We will also learn about where we are now on data privacy law and policy, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Week 3 (January 31 & February 2): Introduction to Intellectual Privacy Project

This semester, we will be formulating updated library privacy laws. Almost every U.S. state has a library privacy laws that protects library users' right to research and read without being tracked. This week, we will learn about the history, purpose, and practicalities of these state laws, and we will learn about the roles model legislation serves in advocacy and lawyering, and how model legislation is constructed and drafted.

Week 4 (February 7 & February 9): Introduction to Topics in Privacy Law


This week, we will start thinking about our areas of interest, and the topics that led us to sign up for this class. We will also lean into the "lawyering seminar" skills aspect of the course. Our goal is to end this week with a growing outline for our final paper. We will learn how to select and frame topics for scholarly legal writing and legal analysis, and revisit our legal research lessons in a data privacy law context. From this week forward, our data privacy lessons and discussions will be interspersed with writing and editing lessons and writing workshop sessions.

Week 5 (February 14 & February 16): Data Privacy in the Private Sector

This week we will discuss data privacy issues in the private sector. The "private sector" is defined as the part of the national economy that is not under government control including commercial online platforms, apps, and other data-collecting enterprises that are not considered "state actors" according to the law.

Week 6 (February 28 & March 2): Data Privacy in a Law Enforcement Context

This week, we will discuss the government's use of our personal data, especially in law enforcement. More and more, criminal and other government investigations and security programs include the use of personal data surveillance and analytics products. State actors have to comply with constitutional obligations and other data privacy laws and regulations. This week, we will learn about how the government skirts those legal obligations by working with third party data and technology suppliers.

Week 7 (March 7 & March 9): Data Biases

This week, we will move beyond the superficial privacy issues in today's personal data schemes to learn about how errors and biases in both data collections, data analytics systems, and other data sorting mechanisms harm people who are subject to data privacy-invading programs and systems, which disproportionately target people of color.

Week 8 (March 14 & March 16): Why Aren't We Protecting Our Data Privacy?


Now that we've discussed the problems that current personal data practices are causing, we are probably wondering why the government isn't doing anything to protect our digital privacy. This week, we'll explore some of the reasons that people give for the lack of legislative and regulatory movement on the issue. We'll read about technological exceptionalism, learn about the intertwined nature of governments and technology companies, and consider how existing law and policy is oppositional to effective data privacy protections.

Week 9 (March 28 & March 30): Model Legislation Extravaganza & Hot Data Jobs

This week we will finalize our model legislation projects. We will draft and edit together. We will think about whether our end result helps advance our intended goals, and whether our writing is geared towards the right audience. We will also explore the types of data privacy work that lawyers are doing, and where there might be opportunities for new lawyers in the data privacy field.

Week 10 (April 4 & April 11): Final Project Writing Workshops


Bring your drafts to class this week! We will be editing our work together.

Week 11 & 12 (April 13, April 18, April 20, & April 25): Presentations

In these final classes, we will share what we've been researching and writing about throughout the semester.

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