The following questions are designed for use by academic classes and for book reading groups.
1. Is Franz Kafka's The Trial an apt metaphor for capturing the problems caused by the rise of "digital dossiers" of personal information about individuals? Can you think of other metaphors?
2. In Chapter 3, Solove describes the "aggregation effect." What is the aggregation effect? Is it a problem? If so, what can be done to address it?
3. In Chapter 3, Solove argues that traditional understandings of privacy view it under the "secrecy paradigm." What is the secrecy paradigm? Is this an accurate way to describe the way privacy is often understood? Should be privacy be understood this way, or is Solove correct that this understanding of privacy is outmoded in the Information Age?
4. In Chapter 4, what type of law (torts, constitutional, statutory) do you think is best able to address the problems discussed in the book?
5. In Chapter 5, Solove critiques market-based solutions to privacy problems. Proponents of market-based solutions argue that the market will best determine the level of privacy people desire. If people are willing to do business with companies that gather and use their personal information, why should regulation mandate privacy protections? Aren't people choosing to give up their privacy in exchange for money or discounts or access to websites?
6. Evaluate Solove's critiques of market-based solutions in Chapter 5. Are they convincing? What counterarguments might be raised?
7. Are privacy regulations too paternalistic? If people choose to give up their personal information with little limitation on how it will be used, should the law prevent them from doing so?
8. What is the root cause of identity theft according to Solove in Chapter 6?
9. What kinds of duties should the entities that gather, maintain, and use personal information owe to the individuals to whom the data pertains?
10. In Chapter 7, Solove discusses the increased accessibility to public records due to the Internet. Is this a problematic development? What are the pros and cons of greater accessibility of public records?
11. In Chapter 8, Solove argues that restrictions on access to public records are necessary to protect privacy. What are the costs of restricting access in the ways Solove recommends? Does Solove's solution go too far? Or far enough?
12. What are the benefits and dangers of government access to records of personal information maintained by businesses? What purposes would the government want to obtain such information for? Which purposes are legitimate? Which are nefarious?
13. In Chapter 10, Solove critiques the "third party doctrine" to the Fourth Amendment. What is the third party doctrine? Why is it a problem according to Solove?
14. In Chapter 10, Solove argues that a series of statutes has been filling the void left by the Fourth Amedment. Solove contends that the statutes fail to provide adequate protection to privacy. In what ways do the statutes fail? Do you agree with Solove's assessment of the statutes?
15. In Chapter 11, Solove proposes a way to regulate government access to records of personal information maintained by businesses. Describe his proposal. Do you think it will be effective? Is it too restrictive on government access? Not restrictive enough?
16. In Chapter 12, Solove discusses the relationship between privacy and technology. In what way does technology threaten privacy? How can privacy be protected in a world of rapidly evolving technology?