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Copyright (c) 2015 American Journal of Trial Advocacy
American Journal of Trial Advocacy

SYMPOSIUM: PRACTICING LAW IN THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE AND HACKERS: Information, Knowledge, and the Pursuit of Privacy

Spring, 2015

American Journal of Trial Advocacy

38 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 485


Dera J. Nevin+ and Marc Jenkins++



In an 1817 letter to George Ticknor of the Virginia state legislature, Thomas Jefferson stated that the leaders of his great state did not "generally possess information enough to perceive the important truths, that knowledge is power, that knowledge is safety, and that knowledge is happiness." 1 Jefferson was a multi-disciplinary man, the textbook definition of a polymath with rather significant contributions to the arts, sciences, and politics. Jefferson read law under the tutelage of his mentor George Wythe and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1817. 2 In addition to law, he studied mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, and the violin while being conversant in French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. 3 His diverse interests led him to become a notable architect in the classical tradition, the founder of the University of Virginia, the President of the American Philosophical Society, and the President of the United States of America.

It would certainly be interesting if a man of Jefferson's intellect were thrust into our modern information age. The triple convergence of (1) infinite data or information sources, (2) continuous connectivity with global reach, and (3) limitless computing power through cloud computing has empowered incredible advancements across all industries. The perceived impossible is becoming possible in remarkably short time frames. 4 The democratization of information and limitless computing power make the modern world an incredible environment for creative thinkers, such as lawyers, to fashion innovative solutions to big problems.

The incredible "data ecosystem" 5 fostering these great advancements comes with ...
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