By Frederick S. Lane

ISBN-10: 080700619X

ISBN-13: 9780807006191

ISBN-10: 0807044415

ISBN-13: 9780807044414

A sweeping tale of the fitting to privateness because it sped alongside colonial postal routes, telegraph wires, and today’s fiber-optic cables on a collision direction with presidents and programmers, librarians and letter-writers.

''The background of the USA is the historical past of the correct to privacy,'' writes Frederick S. Lane during this vibrant and penetrating exploration of our so much hotly debated constitutional correct. From Governor William Bradford commencing colonists’ mail sure for England, to President George W. Bush’s expansive household wiretapping, the motivations at the back of executive surveillance have replaced little regardless of swift advances in communications expertise. but all too frequently, americans were their very own worst enemies in terms of preserving privateness, compliantly forgoing civil liberties in severe instances of battle in addition to for daily patron conveniences. every one people now contributes to an ever-evolving digital file of on-line purchasing sprees, picture albums, health and wellbeing documents, and political contributions, available to just about somebody who cares to appear. In a digitized international the place facts lives endlessly, Lane urges us to contemplate no matter if privateness is even feasible. How did we arrive at this brink?

American Privacy strains the lineage of cultural norms and criminal mandates that experience swirled round the Fourth modification seeing that its adoption. In 1873, the creation of postcards cut up American opinion of public propriety. Over a century later, Twitter takes its position at the spectrum of human connection. among those nodes, Anthony Comstock waged an ethical campaign opposed to obscene literature, George Orwell penned 1984, Joseph McCarthy hunted Communists and ''perverts,'' President Richard Nixon surveilled himself correct out of workplace, and the splendid court docket of the USA issued its such a lot influential felony evaluations about the correct to privateness so far. Captured the following, those ancient snapshots upload as much as a full of life narration of privacy’s champions and challengers.

Legally, technologically, and traditionally grounded, American Privacy concludes with a choice for Congress to acknowledge how innovation and infringement move hand-in-hand, and a problem to voters to guard privateness earlier than it really is misplaced thoroughly.

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Extra info for American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right

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Both he and the YMCA committee believed that the 1872 Post Office Act was badly flawed, in part because the law contained no prohibition of birth control and other sex aids, and in part because no provision was made for the search and seizure of obscene materials. By contrast, the 1868 New York state law addressed both issues, and Comstock used it as a model for his proposal to Congress. When Comstock arrived in Washington, he discovered that his influential backers in New York had arranged some powerful allies for him.

Post Office came under strong pressure to censor the materials submitted to it for delivery. Nor was the practice restricted to communities in the South: in 1861, after the start of hostilities, postmaster general Montgomery Blair ordered his department to refuse delivery of newspapers sympathetic to the rebellion. ” In a lengthy reply, Blair staunchly defended his decision and said that the Post Office “could not and would not interfere with the freedom secured by law” (specifically, the freedoms of speech and press).

Creswell noted the popularity of postcards in Germany and Great Britain and strongly recommended that the postal laws of the United States be amended to permit their use. S. Post Office entered the postcard business in 1873. Creswell, who resigned in 1874, obviously had some idea of just how popular postcards would be: based on preorders, he had 100 million cards printed for the first year alone. When the cards were first offered for sale in New York City on May 15, 1873, more than 200,000 cards were purchased in the first two hours.

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American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right by Frederick S. Lane


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