The University Record, October 22, 2001

Education campaign will fight numbness to privacy issues

By Theresa Maddix

Privacy in the information age is important to every part of the campus community: faculty, staff and particularly students,” says Virginia Rezmierski, adjunct associate professor of public policy and of information. “Many laws are emerging very rapidly and yet, people are numbed out on issues of privacy.”

To try to counter “people talking about privacy too much without really saying anything,” Rezmierski, along with Victor Rosenberg, associate professor of information, is organizing a yearlong education campaign on “Privacy in the Information Age: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?”

The campaign begins with a lecture by Alan Westin at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in Hutchins Hall. Westin will address “The Future of Privacy in an Age of High Technology, Voyeurism and Terrorists.”

Westin is professor emeritus of public law and government at Columbia University; publisher of Privacy and American Business; and president of the Center for Social and Legal Research.

Along with a lecture series, the campaign includes:

  • Roundtable discussions with guest speakers after each lecture. Registration is limited to 30 participants.

  • Course involvement on issues of privacy.

  • Interdisciplinary research involving representatives of major funding agencies in presentations, discussions and the shaping of research priorities.

  • A secondary speaker series with limited audiences from the campus community. Faculty, staff and students closely involved with privacy issues will facilitate discussions around may campus locations.

    Other dates to mark in the lecture series are Nov. 14 when David Brin will speak on “A World Filled With Cameras: Security at the Cost of Freedom? Or Can We Have Both?” and Nov. 14 when Peter Swire will address “Privacy and Security in Light of Recent Events.”

    The education campaign is sponsored by the Park Foundation through a grant to support colloquia and research regarding the interrelationship between telecommunications and law, and the following units: Law School; Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; School of Information; College of Engineering; and LS&A.