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Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution

Courts have struggled to balance the interests of individuals, businesses, and law enforcement. Educate yourself about the current state of the law and the risks posed by our own inventions with guidance from an award-winning legal scholar, professor,...
Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 30.
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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Talking Head Discussion This course is a talking head discussion of privacy, property, and free speech cases decided by the Supreme Court. It does not teach the legal principles involved. Rather, Dr. Rosen presents results of Supreme Court decisions in a related set of cases on a particular topic (such as abortion or gun control) without teaching the underlying legal principles. He frequently asks, “What do you think?” In other words, this course is about getting you to form an opinion but not necessarily an *informed* opinion. The course is divided into three sweeping categories, as the title suggests: privacy, property, and free speech. Privacy topics (the largest category) include protection against searches and seizures, protection against self-incrimination, electronic surveillance, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Property topics (the smallest category) include restrictions on eminent domain. Free speech topics include whistleblowing, social media, and the “right to be forgotten.” Although Dr. Rosen takes pains to be even-handed, his approach of presenting the Court decisions without contrasting the competing arguments means that the lectures gravitate toward his personal preferences. The course guide is about average or perhaps slightly below average by The Great Courses (TGC) standards. It is written in bullet format as opposed to paragraph format. It averages about 8 pages per lecture, which seems to be slightly above average by TGC standards. It has no useful graphics although there are incidental pictures such as a picture of a pistol with several bullets in the lecture on gun control. There is a bibliography at the end. However, oddly, there is no list of relevant Supreme Court cases nor is there a timeline. I used the audio streaming version. I don’t think that the video would have added anything significant. The course was published in 2012. By 2023 when I listened to it, many significant Court decisions had changed the case law since this course was published.
Date published: 2023-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Are Our Rights Under Fire? This course taught by Professor Jeffrey Rosen was reproduced 10 years ago in 2012. Ten years of increased technological improvements in today's information based culture is a long time. As such, in my opinion, the underlying and ongoing lessons in this course are now even more significant and relevant in 2022 than they were in 2012. A significant central theme in this course is as information technology increases, our expectations of personal privacy decreases. There are several other pervasive issues reviewed in this course. For example, I just watched lesson 13 yesterday which provided a history of Roe vs. Wade and the issues on this ruling as they prevailed in 2012. As everyone now knows Roe vs. Wade was overturned by SCOTUS in 2022. For me, this makes the historical precedent of this ruling ever more significant for us to understand today. The next lesson, #14, is about our "Right to Die." While I haven't viewed it yet, I suspect it examines or re-examines, the question on euthanasia as a personal choice that should or should not be legislated or subjected to a SCOTUS ruling one way or another. My point here is that our rights as "free" citizens are as relevant today as they were in 2012 or, were since the ratification of our US Constitution in the late 18th century. Obviously, there is more than enough "food" to chew on or, consider (or reconsider) while viewing a course such as this that time or space allows me to comment on is this review. So, if you are like me and would like a Great Courses series of relevant lectures that affects our personal choices and lives over then this course is probably as relevant for you as it is for me.
Date published: 2022-07-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bad questioning. Don't ask questions you know the answers to. Especially regarding genetics
Date published: 2022-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fascinating & of great concern this course greatly expended what i thought i knew in the area of privacy, & often provided disturbing evidence of government overreach. Prof Rosen did an excellent job of presenting & explaining a most relevant & important subject.
Date published: 2020-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of the better courses offered,but.... One of the better courses offered,but it was edited poorly. When the camera angle changes or the screen changes to a photo or other graphic, there was a noticeable jump in the screen.It didn't happen throughout the entire course but with a frequency that was noticeable and distracting. No other course from the great courses catalog that I've purchased has ever displayed such a thing. Was the editing equipment malfunctioning or was the person doing the editing the problem? Having said that, the course is still excellent and well worth it.
Date published: 2020-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Privacy Property and Free Speech: Law and the Cons Professor Rosen is this country”s most energetic constitutional scholar. His enthusiasm penetrates the entirety of his presentation. One can hardly stay in one’s seat. For those who love the Constitution and enjoy listening to some of the stories behind it - Privacy, Property and Free Speech is a must.
Date published: 2019-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Something Everyone Should Be Aware Of This is a subject that everyone should be aware of as we dive deeper into a connected society and insist on sharing anything and everything. Even though the course appears the have been recorded in 2012, the subject material is still relevant and provides a lot of background as to how laws and rulings came to be. The professor gives you not only a brief history lesson on who in the Supreme Court made these decisions, but what was their thought process and the culture of the country at the time, and how did common law and statue law figure into their decisions. This course will not teach you how to "beat the system", but will teach you why the "system" is the way it is and what to expect from it. Some of the information may have evolved since the recording, such as surveillance, abortion, and LGBT problems, BUT this course will help you understand how we got some of these decisions.
Date published: 2019-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Privacy, property free speech and the constitution Professor Rosen presented a well thoughtout and in depth analysis of this very broad subject. He would ask the listner to consider thorney questions that taxed your prior notions. Clearly there is little important that is straightforward. A critical topic especially in our current environment.
Date published: 2019-03-28
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The proliferation of intrusive new technologies is putting many of our presumed freedoms in legal limbo. Today, it's easy to think that we have far more privacy and other personal rights than we in fact do. Only by educating ourselves about the current state of the law and the risks posed by our own inventions can we develop an informed opinion about where to draw hard lines, how to promote changes in the system, and what we can do to protect ourselves. In Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution in the 21st Century, Professor Jeffrey Rosen delivers 24 eye-opening lectures that immerse you in the Constitution, the courts, and the post√9/11 Internet era that the designers of our legal system could scarcely have imagined


Jeffrey Rosen

For constitutional values to flourish in the 21st century, the only thing that can save us is the engagement and commitment of citizens like you.


The George Washington University Law School

Jeffrey Rosen is Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School, the legal affairs editor of The New Republic, and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is also president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a museum and education center next to the Liberty Bell. Professor Rosen is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude; Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and Yale Law School. After law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Professor Rosen was honored with the 2013 Golden Pen award from the Legal Writing Institute for his extraordinary contributions to the cause of better legal writing. His books include The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America, the best-selling companion book to the award-winning PBS series. He is also the author of The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America; The Naked Crowd: Freedom and Security in an Anxious Age; and The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America, which The New York Times called the definitive text in privacy perils in the digital age. Professor Rosen is coeditor of Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change. His essays and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, on National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. The Chicago Tribune named him one of the ten best magazine journalists in America, and the Los Angeles Times called himthe nation's most widely read and influential legal commentator.

By This Professor

Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution
Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution


Freedom and Technological Change

01: Freedom and Technological Change

Consider three hypothetical cases that could confront the U. S. Supreme Court in the decades ahead: ubiquitous surveillance, designer embryos, and evidence from brain scans. Each has profound implications for privacy. Then survey the history of legal protections for privacy....

34 min
Privacy and Virtual Surveillance

02: Privacy and Virtual Surveillance

Examine areas where new technologies are challenging our existing ideas about constitutional protections for privacy in public places. Review reasons why the Constitution provides less protection against surveillance today than it did against the search of private diaries in the 18th century....

28 min
Privacy at Home

03: Privacy at Home

Study the evolution of privacy in the home, which remains the place with more legal protection than anywhere else. But what does that mean in an age when our most private papers are stored not in locked desk drawers in the home but with third parties such as computer networks?...

30 min
Privacy on the Street

04: Privacy on the Street

Today, police in the United States have the power to arrest and detain individuals for any crime, regardless of how minor. In this lecture, survey your rights on the street, where the degree of monitoring has spread to new technologies such as speed cameras and smart parking meters....

29 min
The Privacy of Travelers

05: The Privacy of Travelers

In 2009, the Transportation Security Administration began using body scans as a primary screening tool at airports. What are your rights when faced with this and other security measures? Learn how to assert those rights while traveling in the United States and abroad....

31 min
Privacy and National Security

06: Privacy and National Security

Analyze the domestic war on terror in light of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Begin with Perfect Citizen, a government program designed to monitor private computer networks to forestall cyber assaults. How should the courts weigh privacy rights in such cases?...

33 min
Privacy in the Courtroom

07: Privacy in the Courtroom

The Fifth Amendment guarantee against forced self-incrimination has dwindled to a vestigial protection for suspected white-collar criminals. Suspects are now subject to procedures, such as blood tests, that can compel self-incrimination. The future holds even more intrusive technologies that rely on neuroimaging....

31 min
Privacy in the Police Station

08: Privacy in the Police Station

The main protection for mental privacy today is provided not by the Fifth Amendment but by the Miranda warning, given by police to suspects in custody. Investigate the origin of this safeguard and the continued problem with false confessions and faulty eyewitness testimony....

34 min
Privacy in Electronic Communications

09: Privacy in Electronic Communications

Have you ever had an email or text message go astray? Was it only embarrassing or were there more serious consequences? See how incentives in the law have led many employers to search the most private areas of the workplace, including email, as often as possible....

31 min
Privacy in Cell Phones and Computers

10: Privacy in Cell Phones and Computers

Examine privacy protections for data stored on cell phones and computers, Also look at how the Internet is blurring boundaries between home, work, and school. For example, should school administrators be able to punish students for their social media posts that are uploaded from home?...

30 min
The Internet and the End of Forgetting

11: The Internet and the End of Forgetting

With job recruiters routinely vetting candidates through Internet searches, youthful indiscretions posted online can doom a career. Probe the alarming prospect that we may never be able to escape our past or reinvent ourselves in the classic American way....

29 min
Follow-Me Advertising Online

12: Follow-Me Advertising Online

Thanks to online data mining, companies can guess facts about you that you may have told no one-such as that you're planning to get engaged or that you have a child on the way. Discover how information about you is collected, analyzed, and used, and what you can do about it....

30 min
Privacy and the Body

13: Privacy and the Body

Trace the constitutional right to privacy, invoked in two landmark Supreme Court cases: Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 and Roe v. Wade in 1973. They dealt with contraception and abortion, respectively, but the reasoning and politics are vastly different in each. Explore the issues in depth and decide what you think....

30 min
The Right to Die

14: The Right to Die

The increasing sophistication of medical care raises a host of legal issues about when treatment should cease and under whose authority. Investigate the response of the courts to right-to-die cases and practical steps you can take to avoid a legal struggle when the end nears....

29 min
Privacy and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

15: Privacy and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Explore cases where the Supreme Court has been careful to not render a sweeping constitutional judgment on matters under intense public debate. Examples include eugenics and interracial marriage, which reached a national consensus several decades ago. Also look at today's issue of gay marriage....

34 min
The Constitution and Private Property

16: The Constitution and Private Property

Private property has a special status in the Constitution. Study how individual property rights apply to the Second Amendment's protection of the right to bear arms, as well as to the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Copyright Clause, and the Third and Fourth Amendments....

30 min
The Supreme Court and Private Property

17: The Supreme Court and Private Property

In the first of two lectures on the Supreme Court and economic liberty, follow the court's record in economic rights cases from the Gilded Age to the New Deal, focusing on Lochner v. New York, a 1905 case that limited the ability of government to regulate business....

31 min
The Roberts Court and Economic Rights

18: The Roberts Court and Economic Rights

Beginning with insights from Professor Rosen's interview with Chief Justice John Roberts, evaluate the current Court's approach to economic rights cases, including the Citizens United case that struck down federal campaign finance laws and the Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act....

30 min
Takings and Eminent Domain

19: Takings and Eminent Domain

What constitutes a "taking" of private property? And what constitutes a "public use"? See how the Supreme Court has struggled with interpreting the Takings Clause, culminating in one of the most controversial decisions of the modern era, Kelo v. New London, in 2005....

29 min
The American Free Speech Tradition

20: The American Free Speech Tradition

The crowning achievement of the American free speech tradition is the principle that speech can only be suppressed when it poses an imminent threat of provoking serious lawless action. Learn how this key principle wasn't embraced by the Supreme Court until the 20th century....

31 min
From WikiLeaks to the Arab Spring

21: From WikiLeaks to the Arab Spring

Free speech is being tested by 21st-century controversies such as WikiLeaks, a website that publishes classified information and news leaks. Study the issues raised by this phenomenon. Also investigate the role of free speech in the Arab uprisings in 2010, and examine the effort to suppress offensive speech....

30 min
Google, Facebook, and the First Amendment

22: Google, Facebook, and the First Amendment

The gatekeepers for free speech online are not judges or legislators, but companies such as Google and Facebook, which decide what can be communicated case by case. Explore the power of these corporations, and look at the movement known as Network Neutrality....

30 min
The Right to Be Forgotten

23: The Right to Be Forgotten

Now that online posts live forever, it is hard to escape one's past. Learn how a proposed data-protection law in Europe seeks to guarantee "the right to be forgotten." But what are the implications for free speech if individuals and companies have a broad right to delete information that they don't like?...

30 min
The Constitution in 2040

24: The Constitution in 2040

Look ahead at technological challenges to constitutional values that may arise in the coming decades. One important conclusion is that you as a citizen have an obligation to protect your own rights. Close the course with five practical tips that you can use to protect your privacy today....

33 min