Privacy and personal identity

Ethics and Behavior 7 (3):195 – 205 (1997)
Abstract
What marks the traditional privacy torts of disclosure, intrusion, false light, and appropriation is that they require an invasion, an intrinsic harm caused by someone doing something to us without our consent. But we are now voluntarily giving up information about ourselves--to our physicians, for instance--that is being gathered into databases that are brought and sold and that can be appropriated by those who wish to assume our identities. The way in which our privacy is put at risk is different, and this leads to a new understanding of the concept of privacy. Others appropriate our identities, treating us as objects; by doing so, our standing as autonomous moral agents, controlling how we present ourselves to the world, is thus denied.
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