Privacy in the year
     100 BC:
 how the Hebrew
law views privacy




                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/3...
Agenda

•An introduction on the the Hebrew
  Law

•The text: architecture and privacy
•The Right to Privacy



           ...
The Hebrew Law


 Mishna          Talmud      Rashi      Tosafot       Rambam    "Set Table"

500 BC - 200     500 CE     ...
Talmudic Dialectic Analysis

      “Tosafot”     Talmodic
     commentary       Text


  Other               “Rashi”
comme...
Bava Batra 2a-b ‫בבא בתרא ס,א‬


Mishnah, Bava Batra 2a-b (500 BC   A man would not open to a
- 200 CE)                   ...
Talmud, Bava Batra 2a-b (~500
 • The Talmud is contextualizing the text by quoting the
    story of Ballam, (bible, Number...
Rashbam (1080-1160)

• The Rashbam introduce the term Hezek
  Re’iya, which literally means “the
  damage of being seen,” ...
Ramban (1194-1270)
The Ramban determines that Hezek Re’iya is an
actual damage, and explains the logic:

   • personal mod...
Ramah (1170-1244)
The Ramah expands Ramban’s notion, and identifies two
aspects of privacy in the Mishna, correlating with ...
Set Table (~1700)

Set Table defines a balance between
privacy and other rights (e.g., ownership
rights).
Even if neighbors...
The Right to Privacy (Warren and Brandeis, 1890)

  That the individual shall have full protection in person and in proper...
Architecture and Facebook
Designing for privacy in physical architecture
is not that different than designing software



...
Designing for Privacy

• When designing privacy controls in a piece of
   software, we need to ask ourselves

  • Is an in...
Links
•   Mishna Text: http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/h/h43.htm

•   Talmud text: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/‫בבא_בתרא_ס...
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How the Hebrew law views privacy

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How was privacy viewed around 100 B.C.? A passage in the Hebrew law corpus, the Mishna, discusses the lawful way to open windows to a neighbor's back yard.
More info is at: http://wp.me/p2j69-3V

For several hundreds of years, the passage opens up a lively debate in various corpora of Hebrew law about privacy and its legal, philosophical, and religious dimensions.

I recently gave a seminar talk at the CUPS lab (Carnegie Mellon University) that tries to look at the debate. In includes a brief background on the Hebrew law, its historical context, and its unique type of discourse. Finally, I compared the Hebrew law's views on Privacy to modern approaches, and particularly to "The Right to Privacy" by Warren and Brandeis.

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  • How the Hebrew law views privacy

    1. 1. Privacy in the year 100 BC: how the Hebrew law views privacy http://www.flickr.com/photos/36321226@N04/ 1
    2. 2. Agenda •An introduction on the the Hebrew Law •The text: architecture and privacy •The Right to Privacy 2
    3. 3. The Hebrew Law Mishna Talmud Rashi Tosafot Rambam "Set Table" 500 BC - 200 500 CE 1105 CE 1150-1300 CE 1170 CE 1700 CE CE Babylon France Europe Spain Venice Israel & Jerusalem 3
    4. 4. Talmudic Dialectic Analysis “Tosafot” Talmodic commentary Text Other “Rashi” commentary commentary 4
    5. 5. Bava Batra 2a-b ‫בבא בתרא ס,א‬ Mishnah, Bava Batra 2a-b (500 BC A man would not open to a - 200 CE) common yard a door against A man would not open a door and a window against window to a common yard. window. Was small, he would Bought a house in another yard, not make it larger. Was one, he he would not open it to the would not make it two. But, if common yard. Built a new floor, the opening is into a public he would not open it to the area, was small can be large, common yard. If he would like was one can be two. to, he can build a room in front of his house, build a new floor, and open it up to his house. http://www.flickr.com/photos/36321226@N04/ 5
    6. 6. Talmud, Bava Batra 2a-b (~500 • The Talmud is contextualizing the text by quoting the story of Ballam, (bible, Numbers 24-10): “and whose eyes are opened: How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel.” • Balaam’s blessings are related to the social-architectural patterns of the Israelites‘ tents: “What did Balaam see? He saw that their tents openings were not directed at each other, and said: they deserve that the divine spirit will be on them.” 6
    7. 7. Rashbam (1080-1160) • The Rashbam introduce the term Hezek Re’iya, which literally means “the damage of being seen,” to describe the harm done to the person being watched by another in a private premise. • The characteristics of this damage is hotly debated thereafter. 7
    8. 8. Ramban (1194-1270) The Ramban determines that Hezek Re’iya is an actual damage, and explains the logic: • personal modesty, • protection against gossip, • and the evil eye. He argues that a right to open a window cannot be waived or forgiven by the offended, as the damage from privacy lost cannot be fully measured. 8
    9. 9. Ramah (1170-1244) The Ramah expands Ramban’s notion, and identifies two aspects of privacy in the Mishna, correlating with two types of damages: • The first aspects is rooted in Nezikin, which stands for civil damages. Opening a window into your neighbors yard limits the usage of the yard. This right can be waived, negotiated, or sold. • The second aspect is rooted in moral considerations, as it violates personal modesty. This aspect of privacy, is in the realm of public interest, affects the whole society, and is symbolized in the Balaam story. Therefore, it cannot be waived. 9
    10. 10. Set Table (~1700) Set Table defines a balance between privacy and other rights (e.g., ownership rights). Even if neighbors have prior rights to an opening to a common yard, they still needs to keep the opening in a distance and an angle that would not allow a view to the house. 10
    11. 11. The Right to Privacy (Warren and Brandeis, 1890) That the individual shall have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define anew the exact nature and extent of such protection. Political, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the new demands of society. Thus, in very early times, the law gave a remedy only for physical interference with life and property, for trespasses vi et armis... ...Recent inventions and business methods call attention to the next step which must be taken for the protection of the person, and for securing to the individual what Judge Cooley calls the right "to be let alone" Instantaneous photographs and newspaper enterprise have invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life; and numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that "what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-tops."... ...The common law secures to each individual the right of determining, ordinarily, to what extent his thoughts, sentiments, and emotions shall be communicated to others. Under our system of government, he can never be compelled to express them (except when upon the witness stand)... 11
    12. 12. Architecture and Facebook Designing for privacy in physical architecture is not that different than designing software http://www.flickr.com/photos/eversion/68247220/ 12
    13. 13. Designing for Privacy • When designing privacy controls in a piece of software, we need to ask ourselves • Is an information space private? public? common? • How much control the user has? e.g., can the user opt-in? opt-out? • Can other users gain access to an information space? Do they need to be active? passive? • If some private information is shared, is the user properly compensated? 13
    14. 14. Links • Mishna Text: http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/h/h43.htm • Talmud text: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/‫בבא_בתרא_ס_א‬ • Nahum Rakover on The Protection of Privacy: http:// www.daat.ac.il/mishpat-ivri/skirot/80-2.htm • Eliahu Lifshitz on The Right to Privacy in the Hebrew Law and the State’s Law: http://www.daat.ac.il/mishpat-ivri/skirot/33-2.htm • Michael Birnhack on Control and Authorization, the Theoretical Basis for the Right to Privacy • Ruth Gavizon on Privacy: http://www.gavison.com/c915-privacy 14

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