Privacy: Then & Now


Privacy: Then & Now

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Newspaper headline reads: “Third Smith Faculty Member Arrested in Pornography Raid”

And I worry that—especially now with the increased tools and methods that the government has for investigating peoples’ private lives—that we are at risk of having this kind of thing happen again.
–– Barry Werth, author, The Scarlet Professor

One of the most consistent themes in American history has been the struggle to protect civil rights and liberties in the face of seismic cultural and political events, which regularly shake the foundations of freedom upon which the country is built.

Without exception, each decade has been marked by a new crisis, particular to its time. From the Comstock Act of 1873 to the Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s to the terrorist strikes of September 11, crises in America have inevitably led to reactive legislation, which in turn has threatened to undermine the same freedoms it seeks to protect.

As seen in THE GREAT PINK SCARE, in issues involving privacy, freedom of expression and private sexual conduct, the government vs. civil rights struggle remains an ongoing debate and the implications and interpretation of laws can be used destroy individuals lives and careers.

Where are the boundaries of privacy in modern America? A look at its path through history—from early America to McCarthyism and beyond—may shed light on the privacy landscape of today.

Learn about the history of privacy rights in the U.S. >>

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