Anita L. Allen, JD, PhD is an expert on privacy law, the philosophy of privacy, bioethics, and contemporary values, and is recognized for scholarship about legal philosophy, women’s rights, and race relations. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. She was the first African American woman to hold both a PhD in philosophy and a law degree, and the first to be elected President of The American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division. At the University of Pennsylvania, she was the Vice Provost for Faculty from 2013—2020 and is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. In 2010, she was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Her books include Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide (Oxford, 2011), The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape (Miramax/Hyperion, 2004), Why Privacy Isn’t Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), and Uneasy Access: Privacy for Women in a Free Society (Rowman and Littlefield, 1988), the first monograph on privacy written by an American philosopher. Her textbooks include: Privacy Law and Society (Thomson/West, 2016), the most comprehensive textbook on the US law of privacy and data protection on the market, with chapters on the common law, constitutional law federal statutory law, surveillance law, and international standards. Dr. Allen has published more than 100 scholarly articles, book chapters, and essays, and has also contributed to popular magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She has frequently appeared on nationally broadcast television and radio programs.
Dr. Allen is active as a member of editorial, advisory, and charity boards, and in professional organizations relating to her expertise in law, philosophy and health care. She was a member of the NIH Precision Medicine IRB, and of the Boards of Directors of the former WCG Foundation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Hastings Center, the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan DC, and the Maternity Care Coalition of Philadelphia. She currently serves on the board of the National Constitution Center and as the Chair of the Board of EPIC, the Electronic Communications Privacy Center.