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Privacy & Information Law Research Guide

This research guide focuses on U.S. state and federal privacy and information law.


Finding Federal Statutes

United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) (West; unofficial; annotated):

United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.) (Lexis; unofficial; annotated):

United States Code (U.S.C.) (official; unannotated):

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There are a large number of statutes at the state and federal levels that govern various aspects of privacy and information law; a complete review of these is beyond the scope of this guide.  If you do not know which statutes govern the issue you are researching, you may want to begin with a treatise, such as one or more listed on the Secondary Sources page of this guide. (Several of the treatises include appendices or sections on state laws.  A few of the e-Resource Centers and Treatise Collections have state-specific privacy law treatises.)

For information on statutory research generally, including how to use an annotated code, see our Finding Statutes Research Guide and the Statutory Research Tutorial.  For help finding the U.S.C, U.S.C.A, and U.S.C.S. in print and online, see the "Finding Federal Statutes" box, left.  For help finding a specific state's statutes, consult that state's research guide.

Select additional resources on privacy and information law statutes at the state and federal levels are listed below. (This is not a comprehensive list.)

Compilations of Federal Privacy Laws

State Privacy Laws & Legislation

Multi-jurisdictional Research: 50-State Surveys

Fifty-state surveys track a single topic across the statutes (or regulations) of all 50 states.  They usually take the form of a state-by-state table or chart containing the citations to the laws on the given topic in each state, but generally contain little-to-no analysis.  A 50-State Survey will not be available for all topics, but, if there is one, it can serve as a valuable starting point when conducting multi-jurisdictional research on a topic. Check each of the below sources to see if there is a 50-state-survey already compiled for your topic. (Note the date of any 50-state-surveys you find; some updating may be required.)

Note that you can sometimes find multi-state surveys or multi-state issue-trackers online, such as on the websites of law firms or organizations that are interested in tracking specific topics across jurisdictions.  For example, the National Conference of State Legislatures also often has multi-state surveys for statutes or legislation (bill-tracking, etc.) on select topics.

Finally, American Law Reports (ALRs) also track a single, narrow legal issue across all U.S. jurisdictions. They typically include substantive analysis and useful research tools (such as a Table of Laws and cross-references to other secondary sources and research tools). ALRs are available on both Westlaw and Lexis.