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Hastings Law Journal

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The American legal system has generally rejected legal rights for data privacy and relies instead on market self-regulation and the litigation process to establish norms of appropriate behavior in society. Information privacy is protected only through an amalgam of narrowly targeted rules. The aggregation of these specific rights leaves many significant gaps and fewer clear remedies for violations of fair information practices. With an absence of well-established legal rights, privacy wrongs are currently in search of remedies. This Article first describes privacy rights and wrongs that frame the search for remedies in the United States. It explores public enforcement of, and private claims for, these privacy wrongs. It concludes with an instrumentalist view of the search for remedies. The current mismatch between privacy wrongs and remedies creates a destabilizing force that will ultimately push in favor of enhanced legal rights for data privacy.