Privacy and the Past: Research, Law, Archives, Ethics

Privacy and the Past: Research, Law, Archives, Ethics

by Susan C. Lawrence


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Privacy and the Past: Research, Law, Archives, Ethics by Susan C. Lawrence

When the new HIPAA privacy rules regarding the release of health information took effect, medical historians suddenly faced a raft of new ethical and legal challenges—even in cases where their subjects had died years, or even a century, earlier. In Privacy and the Past, medical historian Susan C. Lawrence explores the impact of these new privacy rules, offering insight into what historians should do when they research, write about, and name real people in their work.
Lawrence offers a wide-ranging and informative discussion of the many issues involved. She highlights the key points in research ethics that can affect historians, including their ethical obligations to their research subjects, both living and dead, and she reviews the range of federal laws that protect various kinds of information. The book discusses how the courts have dealt with privacy in contexts relevant to historians, including a case in which a historian was actually sued for a privacy violation. Lawrence also questions who gets to decide what is revealed and what is kept hidden in decades-old records, and she examines the privacy issues that archivists consider when acquiring records and allowing researchers to use them. She looks at how demands to maintain individual privacy both protect and erase the identities of people whose stories make up the historical record, discussing decisions that historians have made to conceal identities that they believed needed to be protected. Finally, she encourages historians to vigorously resist any expansion of regulatory language that extends privacy protections to the dead.
Engagingly written and powerfully argued, Privacy and the Past is an important first step in preventing privacy regulations from affecting the historical record and the ways that historians write history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813574363
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 05/11/2016
Series: Rutgers Series in Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

SUSAN C. LAWRENCE is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University in Columbus. She is the author of Charitable Knowledge: Hospital Practitioners and Pupils in Eighteenth-Century London.

Table of Contents

1        Introduction: The Historians, the County and the Dead
2        Research, Privacy and Federal Regulations
3        Historians, the First Amendment and Invasion of Privacy
4        Archivists at the Gates
5        Managing Privacy: Historians at Work
6        Conclusion: Resistance

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