An advertisement for Harry Street’s lecture in the Queen’s Journal.

Harry Street was a professor of English Law at the University of Manchester and a jurist. He was previously a teacher at the Harvard Law School. He authored “Freedom, the Individual and the Law.” Much of his work focused on civil liberties and tort law.

Street’s lecture was part of a series on “Freedom and Responsibility in Contemporary Society.” He examined the actual and potential violations of personal privacy that accompany advances in technology, and exposed the inadequacy of the law in combating these abuses. He suggested that there was an urgent need for the legal protection of individual’s civil right to privacy. New advances in computer and surveillance technology were, he said, creating new concerns about the right to privacy that differed radically from earlier legal regimes. He advocated for a new legal body, an independent commission composed of expert scientists, technologists, and lawyers, to govern the creation of data banks. Ultimately, he concluded, we could not expect the press, the government, or business to keep their interference within proper bounds; we needed to law to step up and prevent interferences in personal privacy: “There is no time to lose.”

Street’s lecture was held on March 25, 1970.

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