Press Release — Constitutional Scholar and Author Frederick Lane to Introduce His New Book, “American Privacy,” at Boston’s Old State House


Contact Info:
Frederick Lane
Burlington, VT


BURLINGTON, VT — Constitutional scholar, attorney, and privacy expert Frederick Lane will introduce his new book, “American Privacy: The 400-Year-History of Our Most Contested Right,” at Boston’s historic Old State House on November 4, 2009. Lane will moderate a panel discussion on the relationship between general writs of assistance and current domestic surveillance programs. Joining him will be Prof. John Bell, a specialist in Revolutionary history; Prof. John McEtterik, a law professor at Suffolk University, who is an expert on the general writs of assistance issued by the British crown; and Kurt Opsahl, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and one of the key players in the litigation regarding the secret domestic wiretapping program by the National Security Agency. Additional information will be posted shortly to the Boston Historical Society’s Calendar of Events

Scheduled for release by Beacon Press at the beginning of November, American Privacy has garnered early praise from a wide range of scholars and privacy activists:

“Frederick Lane offers a thoughtful and insightful biography of the right to privacy in American law from the Puritans to the War on Terror. In an illuminating account of the evolution of the right, Lane shows how various threads of the right have emerged over time in our ever more complex society. This is a fascinating read for any American who wants a deeper understanding of one of the most important and contentious issues of our age.” — Geoffrey R. Stone, author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism

“American Privacy is a deeply-informed discussion of the history and present state of a fundamental American value. Frederick Lane’s detailed account of the attacks against our basic right to privacy is chilling.” — Craig Newmark, founder, craigslist

“Is there anything more fundamental to human freedom than the right to privacy, to be able to live your life as you wish without the scrutiny or the interference of bullying authority? Frederick Lane’s book confronts us with this largely invisible threat, magnified by modern technology, and challenges us to defend our most basic rights.” — Howard Zinn, Historian, Author, and Playwright (

“Written with grace and probing insight, Frederick Lane’s book is a tour de force guide that illuminates our country’s intense relationship with the concept of privacy. Covering the colonial period to today’s digitally driven online society, American Privacy explains how much Americans-and citizens around the world-have at stake if we allow governments and market forces to erode our privacy rights.” — Jeffrey Chester, author of Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy

“Frederick Lane’s American Privacy is a highly readable history of the right to privacy in America. It brings to life the people, debates, and events that have shaped our current protections of privacy.” — Daniel J. Solove, author of Understanding Privacy

“Frederick Lane’s timely and lucid history lays bare how attacks on privacy by government and industry threaten democracy itself. Essential reading.” — Christopher Finan, author of From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America

American Privacy is Lane’s fifth book. His previous titles include The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court (Beacon Press 2008); The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture (Prometheus Books 2006), which led to an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”; The Naked Employee: How Technology Is Compromising Workplace Privacy (Amacom 2003); and Obscene Profits: Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age.

In addition to “The Daily Show,” he has also appeared on a variety of other national television programs, including ABC’s “Good Morning America Weekend”; NBC’s “Weekend Today”; ABC’s “Nightline”; CBS’s “60 Minutes”; CNN’s “Glenn Beck Show” and “Newsroom”; and assorted CBC and BBC documentaries. Lane is also a contributor to Beacon Press’s blog, The Beacon Broadside (, and a frequent lecturer on topics related to his books. In addition to his writing and lecturing, Lane is a computer forensics expert and the author of the Digital Dirt Blawg, a resource for attorneys and the public on the law and technology of computer forensics.

Author Availability

Lane lives with his family in Burlington, VT, where he serves as chairman of the Burlington School Board. He is available for interviews by phone, e-mail, or by remote feed from one of the many radio and television studios in the Burlington area.


Frederick Lane

Caitlin Meyer
Beacon Press
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

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