Philosophical theories of privacy: Implications for an adequate online privacy policy

Metaphilosophy 38 (1):1–22 (2007)
Abstract
This essay critically examines some classic philosophical and legal theories of privacy, organized into four categories: the nonintrusion, seclusion, limitation, and control theories of privacy. Although each theory includes one or more important insights regarding the concept of privacy, I argue that each falls short of providing an adequate account of privacy. I then examine and defend a theory of privacy that incorporates elements of the classic theories into one unified theory: the Restricted Access/Limited Control (RALC) theory of privacy. Using an example involving data-mining technology on the Internet, I show how RALC can help us to frame an online privacy policy that is sufficiently comprehensive in scope to address a wide range of privacy concerns that arise in connection with computers and information technology.
Keywords RALC theory of privacy  privacy in public  online privacy policies  informational privacy  seclusion theory of privacy  nonintrusion theory of privacy  control theory of privacy
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