Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alan F. Westin, Who Defined Right to Privacy, Dies

Before the computer age and web era, Alan F. Westin, transformed the privacy debate. He died last month at age 83.

"Through his work — notably his book “Privacy and Freedom,” published in 1967 and still a canonical text — Mr. Westin, an attorney and political scientist, was considered to have created, almost single-handedly, the modern field of privacy law. He testified frequently on the subject before Congress, spoke about it on television and radio and wrote about it for newspapers and magazines."

"He transformed the privacy debate by defining privacy as the ability to control how much about ourselves we reveal to others."
- Jeffrey Rosen, Professor and Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic
"In recent years, Mr. Westin turned his attention to the Niagara of personal data loosed by Google, Facebook and their ilk. Trying to stem this tide was a hopeless task, and he knew it." “He recognized that the problems of protecting privacy are now so daunting that they can’t be dealt with by law alone, but require a mix of legal, social and technological solutions,” Mr. Rosen said.
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Sources:
(a) Alan F. Westin, Scholar Who Defined Right to Privacy, Dies at 83 - NY Times, 2/22/13

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