Graduate division of National Paralegal College
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3 Credits

This course is a part of the program leading to:
Master of Science in Legal Studies
Master of Science in Compliance Law
Master of Science in Taxation

Required Prerequisite:
LGL-501: Legal Research and Writing

This course deals with privacy law in the United States. Given the fact that this course is part of a Master’s Degree program in Compliance, we will focus most of our attention to commercial compliance issues that come up relative to applicable privacy law (although there will be plenty of discussion regarding government privacy obligations). The following four areas of privacy law will be covered in this course: 1) Philosophical concepts of privacy law; 2) Health and Genetic Privacy; 3) Privacy of Financial and Commercial Data; and 4) Privacy at Work. We will examine all four areas of privacy legislation in the United States and how they have affected the practices of commercial enterprises as well as the government. Students should expect to thoroughly discuss what methods the government uses to protect consumer information and how courts have interpreted the legality of those methods as new technologies have developed.

Course Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the philosophical concept of privacy and what role it has played in the United States from a historical context.
  • Recognize the significance of the Warren and Brandeis article, The Right to Privacy, relative to the development of privacy law in the United States.
  • Discuss the various privacy protections in tort, contract, evidence, property and criminal law.
  • Explain the relationship between the United States Constitution and the right to privacy.
  • Discuss the nature of professional ethics and evidentiary privileges.
  • Describe the Tarasoff rule and its role in shaping the doctor-patient privilege.
  • Describe various statutory reporting requirements relative to medical information.
  • Discuss in detail the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and its significance in shaping medical privacy law.
  • Identify the difference between an opt-in approach vs. an opt-out approach to consumer consent to disclose personal information.
  • Discuss the various administrative agencies that enforce privacy law.
  • Recognize the various theories of privacy regulation and be able to discuss the pros and cons of each.
  • Discuss the concept of "personally identifiable information".
  • Outline the relationship between the following laws and how they have helped shape privacy law in the United States: The Fair Credit Reporting Act; Gramm-Leach Bliley Act; California SB1; various identity theft statutes; various state security breach notification statutes; Video Privacy Protection Act; Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; The Cable Communications Policy Act; Electronic Communications Privacy Act; Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; Telephone Consumer Protections Act; CAN-SPAM Act; Bank Secrecy Act; Privacy Protection Act; and the US PATRIOT Act.
  • Describe Constitutional limitations on privacy regulation.
  • Discuss the various obstacles associated with information gathering without search warrants.
  • Discuss the various obstacles associated with workplace searches and surveillance.
  • Explain how courts have interpreted what a "reasonable expectation of privacy" is in the workplace.