This paper presents an argument for the value of privacy that is based on a purely negative concept of freedom only. I show that privacy invasions may decrease a person’s negative freedom as well as a person’s knowledge about the negative freedom she possesses. I argue that not only invasions that lead to actual interference, but also invasions that lead to potential interference (many cases of identity theft) constitute actual harm to the invadee’s liberty interests, and I critically (...) examine the courts’ reliance on a principle of ‘no harm, no foul’ in recent data breach cases. Using a number of insights from the psychology of human belief, I also show that the liberal claim for protection of privacy is strengthened by the observation that often the privacy invader cannot be held responsible for the influence on the invadee’s negative freedom. (shrink)
This paper weaves together a number of separate strands each relating to an aspect of Wittgenstein’s PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS. The first strand introduces his radical and incoherent idea of a private object. Wittgenstein in § 258 and related passages is not investigating a perfectly ordinary notion of first person privacy; but his critics have treated his question, whether a private language is possible, solely in terms of their quite separate question of how our ordinary sensation terms can be understood, in (...) a philosophical context, to acquire meaning. Yet it is no part of his intention to demonstrate logically that ordinary sensations are not intrinsically meaningful. This is a tempting yet misleading picture, the picture also expressed through the idea of Augustine’s child who is conceptually articulate prior to learning how to talk. This picture lies behind the born Crusoe, an idea at the centre of the dichotomy between language as essentially shared and essentially shareable, a dichotomy considered here to result from a misconception of two quite separate but related aspects of Wittgenstein’s treatment of following a rule. The notion of a misleading picture, in both its pre-theoretical and philosophical aspects, also plays a crucial role in a treatment of Saul Kripke’s well-known “Postscript: Wittgenstein and Other Minds.”. (shrink)
The aim of compiling the various essays presented here is to make readily accessible many of the most significant and influential discussions of privacy to be found in the literature. In addition to being representative of the diversity of attitudes toward privacy, this collection has a coherence that results from the authors' focus on the same issues and theories. The main issue addressed in this book is the moral significance of privacy. Some social science and legal treatments (...) are included because of their direct bearing on the moral issues that privacy raises. In addition to the classics on privacy, the author has included an interpretative essay on the privacy literature, which provides a philosophical guideline as to what the issues are and how various thinkers have contributed to their resolution. (shrink)
Accessibilities and the metaphysics of privacy -- A myth of externalism -- The privacy of experience -- What? -- Why are many philosophers still blind to private accessibility? -- Psychical accessibility and literary fiction -- Appendix I: language, intersubjectivity, and privacy -- Appendix II: Darwin's predicta moth as a pure, 'A Priori' accessible possibility.
In view of rapid and dramatic technological change, it is important to take the special requirements of privacy protection into account early on, because new technological systems often contain hidden dangers which are very difficult to overcome after the basic design has been worked out. So it makes all the more sense to identify and examine possible data protection problems when designing new technology and to incorporate privacy protection into the overall design, instead of having to come up (...) with laborious and time-consuming “patches” later on. This approach is known as “Privacy by Design” (PbD). (shrink)
Unjustifiable assumptions about sex and gender roles, the untamable potency of maleness, and gynophobic notions about women's bodies inform and influence a broad range of policy-making institutions in this society. In December 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit continued this ignoble cultural pastime when they decided Everson v. Michigan Department of Corrections. In this decision, the Everson Court accepted the Michigan Department of Correction's claim that “the very manhood” of male prison guards both threatens the safety (...) of female inmates and violates the women's “special sense of privacy in their genitals” and declared that sex-specific employment policies for prison guards is not impermissibly discriminatory. I believe that the Court's decision relies on unacceptable (and offensive) stereotypes about sex, gender and sexuality and it significantly undermines Title VII's power to end discriminatory employment practices. (shrink)
The phenomenon of the New Genetics raises complex social problems, particularly those of privacy. This book offers ethical and legal perspectives on the questions of a right to know and not to know genetic information from the standpoint of individuals, their relatives, employers, insurers and the state. Graeme Laurie provides a unique definition of privacy, including a concept of property rights in the person, and argues for stronger legal protection of privacy in the shadow of developments in (...) human genetics. He challenges the role and the limits of established principles in medical law and ethics, including respect for patient autonomy and confidentiality. This book will interest lawyers, philosophers and doctors concerned both with genetic information and issues of privacy; it will also interest genetic counsellors, researchers, and policy makers worldwide for its practical stance on dilemmas in modern genetic medicine. (shrink)
Defining privacy is problematic because the condition of privacy appears simultaneously to require separation from others, and the possibility of choosing not to be separate. This latter feature expresses the inherent normative dimension of privacy: the capacity to control the perceptual and informational spaces surrounding one’s person. Clearly the features of separation and control as just described are in tension because one may easily enough choose to give up all barriers between oneself and the public space. How (...) could the capacity for privacy give rise to its absence? Yet both the separation and control features of privacy do seem indispensable to any sensible understanding of it. In this paper I set out an approach to defining privacy that keeps these features and avoids the tension between them. (shrink)
This paper weaves together a number of separate strands each relating to an aspect of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. The first strand introduces his radical and incoherent idea of a private object. Wittgenstein in § 258 and related passages is not investigating a perfectly ordinary notion of first person privacy; but his critics have treated his question, whether a private language is possible, solely in terms of their quite separate question of how our ordinary sensation terms can be understood, in (...) a philosophical context, to acquire meaning. Yet it is no part of his intention to demonstrate logically that ordinary sensations are not intrinsically meaningful. This is a tempting yet misleading picture, the picture also expressed through the idea of Augustine’s child who is conceptually articulateprior to learning how to talk. This picture lies behind the born Crusoe, an idea at the centre of the dichotomy between language as essentially shared and essentially shareable, a dichotomy considered here to result from a misconception of two quite separate but related aspects of Wittgenstein’s treatment offollowing a rule. The notion of a misleading picture, in both its pre-theoretical and philosophical aspects, also plays a crucial role in a treatment of Saul Kripke’s well-known “Postscript: Wittgenstein and Other Minds.”. (shrink)
With the proliferation of networked electronic communication came daunting capabilities to collect, process, combine and store data, resulting in hitherto unseen transformational pressure on the concepts of trust, security and privacy as we know them. The Future Internet will bring about a world where real life will integrate physical and digital life. Technology development for data linking and mining, together with unseen data collection, will lead to unwarranted access to personal data, and hence, privacy intrusion. Trust and identity (...) lie at the basis of many human interactions and transactions, and societies have developed legitimate concern for privacy being essential for freedom and creativity. The burgeoning development of the Information Society, particularly during the past fifteen years, transcended the societal readiness to respond to the transformational change evoked by ICT. We have reached the eleventh hour for the preservation of trust and privacy as elements that can be transposed into our digital future. Europe has been at the forefront in recognizing the importance of privacy protection in relation to digital data, witness the advanced European legislation in this domain. The European Commission recognizes that appropriate measures need to combine technology development with legal means, user awareness and tools supporting data controllers to comply with law in an accountable and transparent way, and that empower users with a controlling stake in managing their personal data. Activities are underway at many levels. European RTD programmes play their role in supporting research in trustworthy ICT, privacy enhancing technologies, privacy-by-design in service layers as well as in networks, enabling technologies such as cryptography, and in generalized frameworks for trust and privacy-protective identity management. (shrink)
An accountability-based privacy governance model is one where organizations are charged with societal objectives, such as using personal information in a manner that maintains individual autonomy and which protects individuals from social, financial and physical harms, while leaving the actual mechanisms for achieving those objectives to the organization. This paper discusses the essential elements of accountability identified by the Galway Accountability Project, with scholarship from the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP. Conceptual Privacy by (...) Design principles are offered as criteria for building privacy and accountability into organizational information management practices. The authors then provide an example of an organizational control process that uses the principles to implement the essential elements. Initially developed in the ‘90s to advance privacy-enhancing information and communication technologies, Dr. Ann Cavoukian has since expanded the application of Privacy by Design principles to include business processes. (shrink)
Built-in privacy has for too long been neglected by regulators. They have concentrated on reacting to violations of rules. Even imposing severe fines will however not address the basic issue that preventative privacy protection is much more meaningful. The paper discusses this in the context of the International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications (“Berlin Group”) which has published numerous recommendations on privacy-compliant design of technical innovations. Social network services, road pricing schemes, and the distribution of (...) digital media content have figured prominently in the group’s latest working papers. More recently, a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights has thrown light on weaknesses in the protection of patients’ data in hospitals that requires urgent action by designers of IT systems. Built-in privacy is no magic button, no panacea, but it has turned out to be a necessary condition for meaningful privacy protection. (shrink)
An introductory message from Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor, delivered at Privacy by Design: The Definitive Workshop. This presentation looks back at the origins of Privacy by Design, notably the publication of the first report on “Privacy Enhancing Technologies” by a joint team of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority in 1995. It looks ahead and adresses the question of how the promises of these concepts could be (...) delivered in practice. (shrink)
“Privacy as confidentiality” has been the dominant paradigm in computer science privacy research. Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) that guarantee confidentiality of personal data or anonymous communication have resulted from such research. The objective of this paper is to show that such PETs are indispensable but are short of being the privacy solutions they sometimes claim to be given current day circumstances. Using perspectives from surveillance studies we will argue that the computer scientists’ conception of privacy (...) through data or communication confidentiality is techno-centric and displaces end-user perspectives and needs in surveillance societies. We will further show that the perspectives from surveillance studies also demand a critical review for their human-centric conception of information systems. Last, we rethink the position of PETs in a surveillance society and argue for the necessity of multiple paradigms for addressing privacy concerns in information systems design. (shrink)
Background: To evaluate the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention in improving emergency department (ED) patient privacy and satisfaction in the crowded ED setting. Methods: A pre- and post-intervention study was conducted. A multifaceted intervention was implemented in a university-affiliated hospital ED. The intervention developed strategies to improve ED patient privacy and satisfaction, including redesigning the ED environment, process management, access control, and staff education and training, and encouraging ethics consultation. The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated using patient (...) surveys. Eligibility data were collected after the intervention and compared to data collected before the intervention. Differences in patient satisfaction and patient perception of privacy were adjusted for predefined covariates using multivariable ordinal logistic regression. Results: Structured questionnaires were collected with 313 ED patients before the intervention and 341 ED patients after the intervention. There were no important covariate differences, except for treatment area, between the two groups. Significant improvements were observed in patient perception of "personal information overheard by others", being "seen by irrelevant persons", having "unintentionally heard inappropriate conversations from healthcare providers", and experiencing "providers' respect for my privacy". There was significant improvement in patient overall perception of privacy and satisfaction. There were statistically significant correlations between the intervention and patient overall perception of privacy and satisfaction on multivariable analysis. Conclusions: Significant improvements were achieved with an intervention. Patients perceived significantly more privacy and satisfaction in ED care after the intervention. We believe that these improvements were the result of major philosophical, administrative, and operational changes aimed at respecting both patient privacy and satisfaction. (shrink)
Advances in technology are bringing greater insight into the mind, raising a host of privacy concerns. However, the basic psychological mechanisms underlying the perception of privacy violations are poorly understood. Here, we explore the relation between the perception of privacy violations and access to information related to one’s “self.” In two studies using demographically diverse samples, we find that privacy violations resulting from various monitoring technologies are mediated by the extent to which the monitoring is thought (...) to provide access to self-relevant information, and generally neuromonitoring did not rate among the more invasive monitoring types. However, brain monitoring was judged to be more of a privacy violation when described as providing access to self-relevant information than when no such access was possible, and control participants did not judge the invasiveness of neuromonitoring any differently than those told it provided no access to self-relevant information. (shrink)
Foreword by Robert H. Bork -- Culture wars -- A distorted understanding of rights -- The right to privacy -- Griswold and contraception -- Roe and abortion -- Assisted suicide and homosexuality -- Political connections and natural consequences.
What motivated an absolutist Erastian who rejected religious freedom, defended uniform public worship, and deemed the public expression of disagreement a catalyst for war to endorse a movement known to history as the champion of toleration, no coercion in religion, and separation of church and state? At least three factors motivated Hobbes’s 1651 endorsement of Independency: the Erastianism of Cromwellian Independency, the influence of the politique tradition, and, paradoxically, the contribution of early-modern practices of toleration to maintaining the public sphere’s (...) religious uniformity. The third factor illustrates how a key function of the emerging private sphere in the early-modern period was to protect uniformity, rather than diversity; it also shows that what was novel was not so much the public/private distinction itself, but the separation of two previously conflated dimensions of publicity – visibility and representativeness – that enabled early-modern Europeans to envisage modes of worship out in the open, yet still private. (shrink)
This paper examines workplace surveillance and monitoring. It is argued that privacy is a moral right, and while such surveillance and monitoring can be justified in some circumstances, there is a presumption against the infringement of privacy. An account of privacy precedes consideration of various arguments frequently given for the surveillance and monitoring of employees, arguments which look at the benefits, or supposed benefits, to employees as well as to employers. The paper examines the general monitoring of (...) work, and the monitoring of email, listservers and the World Wide Web. It is argued that many of the common justifications given for this surveillance and monitoring do not stand up to close scrutiny. (shrink)
As drug testing has become increasingly used to maximize corporate profits by minimizing the economic impact of employee substance abuse, numerous arguments have been advanced which draw the ethical justification for such testing into question, including the position that testing amounts to a violation of employee privacy by attempting to regulate an employee's behavior in her own home, outside the employer's legitimate sphere of control. This article first proposes that an employee's right to privacy is violated when personal (...) information is collected or used by the employer in a way which is irrelevant to the terms of employment. This article then argues that drug testing is relevant and therefore ethically justified within the terms of the employment agreement, and therefore does not amount to a violation of an employee's right to privacy. Arguments to the contrary, including the aforementioned appeal to the employer's limited sphere of control, do not account for reasonable constraints on employee privacy which are intrinsic to the demands of the workplace and implicit in the terms of the employment contract. (shrink)
Throughout the longstanding debate on privacy, the concept has been framed in various ways. Most often it has been discussed as an area within which individuals rightfully may expect to be left alone and in terms of certain data that they should be entitled to control. The sphere in which individuals should be granted freedom from intrusion has typically been equated with the indisputably private domestic sphere. Privacy claims in the semi-public area of work have not been sufficiently (...) investigated. In this article, the case is made that employees have reasonable expectations on privacy at work. Firstly, in a descriptive analysis, employees’ need for workspace privacy is spelt out. Secondly, a normative analysis explicates the reasons why privacy should be protected. The main thrust is to provide a more inclusive privacy concept and hence, a more adequate basis for privacy protection legislation and codes in the area of work. Contrary to prevailing workplace privacy protection, employees’ need for local privacy should be accommodated as well as informational privacy. (shrink)
The paper begins with a defence of a new definition of privacy as the absence of undocumented personal knowledge. In the middle section, I criticise alternative accounts of privacy. Finally, I show how my definition can be worked into contemporary American Law.
It is widely held that there is a legal right to privacy that plays such a central role in a number of important US Supreme Court decisions. There is however a great deal of dispute about whether there is a moral right to privacy and if there is, what grounds the right. Before this can be determined, we must be clear about the nature of privacy, something that is not clearly understood and that, as we shall see, (...) is often confused with the right to privacy. I shall begin with a critical discussion of various views about the nature of privacy. I shall then present my own account, and show how it meets the objections that have been raised against other views. Lastly, I shall close with a discussion about whether privacy is a moral right. (shrink)
New technologies and practices, such as drug testing, genetic testing, and electronic surveillance infringe upon the privacy of workers on workplaces. We argue that employees have a prima facie right to privacy, but this right can be overridden by competing moral principles that follow, explicitly or implicitly, from the contract of employment. We propose a set of criteria for when intrusions into an employee''s privacy are justified. Three types of justification are specified, namely those that refer to (...) the employer''s interests, to the interests of the employee her- or himself, and to the interests of third parties such as customers and fellow workers. For each of these three types, sub-criteria are proposed that can be used to determine whether a particular infringement into an employee''s privacy is morally justified or not. (shrink)
Issues of privacy and employee health screening rank as two of the most important ethical concerns organizations will face in the next five years. Despite the increasing numbers of social scientists researching personal privacy and the current focus on workplace privacy rights as one of the most dynamic areas of employment law, the concept of privacy remains relatively abstract. Understanding how the courts define privacy and use the expectation of privacy standards is paramount given (...) the strategic importance of the law as a legal socializing agent. This article reports on two federal court decisions involving employer drug and HIV testing whose determinations relied on assumptions about the psychological dimensions of privacy. How the courts define privacy, the outcome of this definition and the ethical ramifications as it affects the employee/employer relationship are discussed. (shrink)
James Rachels’ seminal paper “ Why Privacy Is Important ” (1975) remains one of the most influential statements on the topic. It offers a general theory that explains why privacy is important in relation to mundane personal information and situations. According to the theory, privacy is important because it allows us to selectively disclose personal information and to engage in behaviors appropriate to and necessary for creating and maintaining diverse personal relationships. Without this control, it is implied, (...) the diversity of relationships would diminish; relationships would “flatten out”, we might say. The aspect of the paper that addresses information flows (what I refer to as his information privacy theory) has been of particular interest to computer information privacy theorists. Despite its continued importance to computer privacy theorists, however, the information privacy theory appears to be contradicted by recent developments in computing. In particular, since the publication of Rachels’ paper we have seen an extensive amount of personal information collected. Further, recent developments in computing falling under the heading of social computing have brought about a new wave of personal information creation and collection. This paper will reassess and resituate Rachels’ information privacy theory in light of these developments. I will argue that the increasing collection of personal data will not flatten relationships as the information privacy theory predicts because such data lack contextual factors important to Rachels’ general theory. The paper will conclude by pointing to some areas where Rachels’ general theory and where his information privacy theory will continue to be relevant. (shrink)
The paper examines the ethics of electronic monitoring for advertising purposes and the implications for Internet user privacy using as a backdrop DoubleClick Incs recent controversy over matching previously anonymous user profiles with personally identifiable information. It explores various ethical theories that are applicable to understand privacy issues in electronic monitoring. It is argued that, despite the fact that electronic monitoring always constitutes an invasion of privacy, it can still be ethically justified on both Utilitarian and Kantian (...) grounds. From a Utilitarian perspective the emphasis must be on minimizing potential harms. From a Kantian perspective the emphasis must be on giving users complete information so that they can make informed decisions as to whether they are willing to be monitored. Considering the Internet advertising industrys current actions, computer users and government regulators would be well advised, both practically and ethically, to move to a user control model in electronic monitoring. (shrink)
In this essay, I consider the relationship between the rights to privacy and security and argue that, in a sense to be made somewhat more precise below, that threats to the right to security outweighs comparable threats to privacy. My argument begins with an assessment of ordinary case judgments and an explanation of the important moral distinction between intrinsic value (i.e., value as an end) and instrumental value (i.e., value as a means), arguing that each approach assigns more (...) moral value, other things being equal, to security interests than to privacy interests. I then consider the issue from with a number of mainstream approaches to normative theories of state legitimacy, including social contract theories (new and old), utilitarian theories, Scanlon's contractualism, and various communitarian theories assign security rights a higher place on the moral hierarchy than privacy rights. I then conclude that, under ordinary intuitions and each of these theories, security interests trump (or outweigh) privacy interests when the two come into “direct” conflict – although I make no attempt to give an algorithm or theory for answering the important question of when these interests come into direct conflict and how to weigh them when, say, minor interests in security conflict with major interests in privacy. (shrink)
Privacy concerns involving data mining are examined in terms of four questions: (1) What exactly is data mining? (2) How does data mining raise concerns for personal privacy? (3) How do privacy concerns raised by data mining differ from those concerns introduced by traditional information-retrieval techniques in computer databases? (4) How do privacy concerns raised by mining personal data from the Internet differ from those concerns introduced by mining such data from data warehouses? It is argued (...) that the practice of using data-mining techniques, whether on the Internet or in data warehouses, to gain information about persons raises privacy concerns that (a) go beyond concerns introduced in traditional information-retrieval techniques in computer databases and (b) are not covered by present data-protection guidelines and privacy laws. (shrink)
This paper discusses privacy and the monitoring of e-mail in the context of the international nature of the modern world. Its three main aims are: (1) to highlight the problems involved in discussing an essentially philosophical question within a legal framework, and thus to show that providing purely legal answers to an ethical question is an inadequate approach to the problem of privacy on the Internet; (2) to discuss and define what privacy in the medium of the (...) Internet actually is; and (3) to apply a globally acceptable ethical approach of international human rights to the problem of privacy on the Internet, and thus to answer the question of what is and is not morally permissible in this area, especially in light of recent heightened concerns about terrorist activities. It concludes that the monitoring of e-mail is, at least in the vast majority of cases, an unjustified infringement of the right to privacy, even if this monitoring is only aimed at preventing the commission of acts of terrorism. (shrink)
Social networking sites like Facebook are rapidly gaining in popularity. At the same time, they seem to present significant privacy issues for their users. We analyze two of Facebooks’s more recent features, Applications and News Feed, from the perspective enabled by Helen Nissenbaum’s treatment of privacy as “contextual integrity.” Offline, privacy is mediated by highly granular social contexts. Online contexts, including social networking sites, lack much of this granularity. These contextual gaps are at the root of many (...) of the sites’ privacy issues. Applications, which nearly invisibly shares not just a users’, but a user’s friends’ information with third parties, clearly violates standard norms of information flow. News Feed is a more complex case, because it involves not just questions of privacy, but also of program interface and of the meaning of “friendship” online. In both cases, many of the privacy issues on Facebook are primarily design issues, which could be ameliorated by an interface that made the flows of information more transparent to users. (shrink)
Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley's novel Brave New World have often been thought prophetic commentaries on economic, political, and social matters. I argue, with particular reference to the supposed applicability of these novels to issues of technology and privacy, that the novels are best understood as literary works of art, rather than as social science or commentary, and that when so viewed Orwell's novel in particular reflects a dissatisfaction with everyday life and a nostalgia for Romantic values.
In their celebrated essay “The Right to Privacy,” Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis identify as the generic privacy value “the right to be let alone.”1 This same phrase occurs in Louis Brandeis’s dissent in Olmstead v. U.S.2 This characterization of privacy has been found objectionable by philosophers acting as conceptual police. For example, William Parent asserts that one can wrongfully fail to let another person alone in all sorts of ways such as assault that intuitively do not (...) qualify as violations of privacy and thus cannot be violations of the right to privacy. (shrink)
This paper analyzes ethical aspects of the new paradigm of Ambient Intelligence, which is a combination of Ubiquitous Computing and Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI’s). After an introduction to the approach, two key ethical dimensions will be analyzed: freedom and privacy. It is argued that Ambient Intelligence, though often designed to enhance freedom and control, has the potential to limit freedom and autonomy as well. Ambient Intelligence also harbors great privacy risks, and these are explored as well.
In this paper, I aim to demonstrate the importance of liberal engagement in public debate, in the face of Nagel’s claim that respect for privacy requires liberals to withdraw from their ‘control of the culture’. The paper starts by outlining a pluralist conception of privacy. I then proceed to examine whether there really is liberal cultural control, as Nagel affirms it, and whether such control truly involves a violation of privacy. Moreover, I argue that Nagel’s desire to (...) leave the social and cultural space radically neutral is incompatible with Rawls’ conception of public reason and clashes with the need to justify liberal institutions. (shrink)
The moral right to privacy consists of the power to determine who may gain access to information about oneself. Individual human beings need some measure of privacy in order to develop a sense of self and to avoid manipulation by the state. Journalists who respect the privacy rights of those on whom they report should especially be careful not to intrude unduly when gathering information, in publishing they should be able to demonstrate a public need to know (...) private information. Individual journalists should establish their own guidelines for reporting on the private lives of different categories of people in the news. (shrink)
The value of a negatively defined private space is defended as important for the development of personal autonomy. It is argued that negative liberty is problematic when split off from its connection with this ideal. An ethical interpretation of personal autonomy is proposed according to which a private space is one of autonomy's preconditions. This leads to a conceptualization of privacy that is fruitful in two respects: it permits an account of privacy laws that avoids certain pitfalls, and (...) it serves as a basis for criticizing privacy-related failures of autonomy together with the social forces that produce them. Negative liberty is, furthermore, rejected as an adequate basis for modern law and democracy. Here, too, an ethically defined personal autonomy, of which negative liberty is a precondition, is held to be the most convincing normative foundation. A critical reading of Habermas' cooriginality thesis is offered in support of this argument. Key Words: cooriginality thesis Jürgen Habermas Herbert Marcuse negative liberty personal autonomy positive liberty privacy Martin Walser. (shrink)
Trust between transaction partners in cyberspace has come to be considered a distinct possibility. In this article the focus is on the conditions for its creation by way of assuming, not inferring trust. After a survey of its development over the years (in the writings of authors like Luhmann, Baier, Gambetta, and Pettit), this mechanism of trust is explored in a study of personal journal blogs. After a brief presentation of some technicalities of blogging and authors’ motives for writing their (...) diaries, I try to answer the question, ‘Why do the overwhelming majority of web diarists dare to expose the intimate details of their lives to the world at large?’ It is argued that the mechanism of assuming trust is at play: authors simply assume that future visitors to their blog will be sympathetic readers, worthy of their intimacies. This assumption then may create a self-fulfilling cycle of mutual admiration. Thereupon, this phenomenon of blogging about one’s intimacies is linked to Calvert’s theory of ‘mediated voyeurism’ and Mathiesen’s notion of ‘synopticism’. It is to be interpreted as a form of ‘empowering exhibitionism’ that reaffirms subjectivity. Various types of ‘synopticon’ are distinguished, each drawing the line between public and private differently. In the most ‘radical’ synopticon blogging proceeds in total transparency and the concept of privacy is declared obsolete; the societal gaze of surveillance is proudly returned and nullified. Finally it is shown that, in practice, these conceptions of blogging are put to a severe test, while authors often have to cope with known people from ‘real life’ complaining, and with ‘trolling’ strangers. (shrink)
The article undertakes to develop a theory of privacy considered as a fundamental moral right. The authors remind that the conception of the right to privacy is silent on the prospect of protecting informational privacy on consequentialist grounds. However, laws that prevent efficient marketing practices, speedy medical attention, equitable distribution of social resources, and criminal activity could all be justified by appeal to informational privacy as a fundamental right. Finally, the authors show that in the specter (...) of terrorism, privacy can be conceived as a fundamental moral right, one that is completely consistent with the willingness to submit for surveillance of private lives. (shrink)
In this article, I summarise the ontological theory of informational privacy (an approach based on information ethics) and then discuss four types of interesting challenges confronting any theory of informational privacy: (1) parochial ontologies and non-Western approaches to informational privacy; (2) individualism and the anthropology of informational privacy; (3) the scope and limits of informational privacy; and (4) public, passive and active informational privacy. I argue that the ontological theory of informational privacy can (...) cope with such challenges fairly successfully. In the conclusion, I discuss some of the work that lies ahead. (shrink)
The starting point of this article is that employees’ chances of securing reasonable expectations of privacy at work must be better protected. A dependency asymmetry between employer and job-applicant implies that prospective employees are in a disadvantaged position vis à vis the employer regarding the chances of defending their reasonable interests. Since an increased usage of work related surveillance will, to a larger extent, require of job-applicants that they negotiate their privacy interests in employment contracting, it is important (...) to consider means of strengthening employees’ negotiating power. This article emphasizes the importance of contextualizing consent for contractual agreements to be ethically acceptable. (shrink)
I argue that there is nothing wrong with perfect voyeurism , covert watching or listening that is neither discovered nor publicized. After a brief discussion of privacy I present attempts from Stanley Benn, Daniel Nathan, and James Moor to show that the act is wrong. I argue that these authors fail to make their case. However, I maintain that, if detected or publicized, voyeurism can do grave harm and to that extent should be severely punished. I conclude with some (...) thoughts on the stubborn intuition that perfect voyeurism is wrong despite the absence of harm. (shrink)
In this article I provide an overview of philosophical conceptions of privacy and suggest 3 models to assist with the ethical analysis of privacy invasion by the news media. The models are framed by respect for persons (Kantian), the comparison of harms and benefits (Utilitarian), and the transfer of power. After describing the models, I demonstrate how they can be applied to news reporting that invades the privacy of public figures.
The paper outlines a new interpretation of informational privacy and of its moral value. The main theses defended are: (a) informational privacy is a function of the ontological friction in the infosphere, that is, of the forces that oppose the information flow within the space of information; (b) digital ICTs (information and communication technologies) affect the ontological friction by changing the nature of the infosphere (re-ontologization); (c) digital ICTs can therefore both decrease and protect informational privacy but, (...) most importantly, they can also alter its nature and hence our understanding and appreciation of it; (d) a change in our ontological perspective, brought about by digital ICTs, suggests considering each person as being constituted by his or her information and hence regarding a breach of one’s informational privacy as a form of aggression towards one’s personal identity. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested thatthere is no conception of privacy in Japan orthat, if there is, it is completely differentfrom Western conceptions of privacy. If thiswere so, finding common ground between Japanand the West on which to establish privacypolicies for the internet would be extremelydifficult if not impossible. In this paper wedelineate some of the distinctive differencesin privacy practices in Japan, but we maintainthat these differences do not prevent theestablishment of sound, shared, ethicalinformation privacy policies. We (...) distinguishbetween a minimal conception of privacy that webelieve is shared by Japan and other societiesand richer conceptions of privacy that oftenreflect patterns of behavior distinctive ofparticular cultures. Although Japan and othersocieties share at least a minimal sense ofprivacy, a base on which to build, robustprivacy protection will not exist on theinternet until an internationally accepted richsense of privacy is developed. (shrink)
Use of the concept of `areasonable person and his or her expectations'is widely found in legal reasoning. This legalconstruct is employed in the present article toexamine privacy questions associated withcontemporary information technology, especiallythe internet. In particular, reasonableexpectations of privacy while browsing theworld-wide-web and while sending and receivinge-mail are analyzed.
The vast majority of philosophers and legal theorists who have thought about the issue agree that there is such a thing as a moral right to privacy. However, there is little or no theoretical consensus about the nature of this right. According to reductionists, the right to privacy amounts to nothing more than a cluster of property rights and rights over the person, and therefore plays no autonomous explanatory role in moral theory (Thomson 1975, Davis 1959). Among non-reductionists, (...) there are almost as many accounts of the right to privacy as there are synagogues in the old town of Jerusalem. For one group of non-reductionists (perhaps the majority), the right to privacy is properly understood as a right of control, a form of autonomy. Within this group, some think that the right to privacy is the right to control information about oneself (Westin 1967, Beardsley 1971, Gerstein 1978, Fried 1970, Moore 2003), while others insist that it is the right to control access to oneself (Parker 1974, Scanlon 1975, Rachels 1975, Reiman 1976, Van den Haag 1971). For another group of non-reductionists, the right to privacy is the right to cognitive and/or physical inaccessibility (Gavison 1980, Garrett 1974, Allen 1988). Though these are by far the most widely adopted non-reductionist accounts of the relevant right, they are by no means the only ones currently on offer. There are hybrid accounts according to which the right to privacy is a cluster of various rights of control (Inness 1992) or a cluster of various rights of control and restricted access (DeCew 1997). And according to an influential “information-based” account, the right to privacy 1 is defined as the right that others not possess undocumented personal information about the right-holder (Parent 1983a; 1983b). The purpose of this paper is to bring some order to this theoretical chaos. On my view, none of these accounts of the right to privacy is accurate.. (shrink)
This paper traces the intellectual development of the workplace privacy construct in the course of American thinking. The role of technological development in this process is examined, particularly in regard to the information gathering/dissemination dilemmas faced by employers and employees alike. The paper concludes with some preliminary considerations toward a theory of workplace privacy.
This paper addresses the question of delegation of morality to a machine, through a consideration of whether or not non-humans can be considered to be moral. The aspect of morality under consideration here is protection of privacy. The topic is introduced through two cases where there was a failure in sharing and retaining personal data protected by UK data protection law, with tragic consequences. In some sense this can be regarded as a failure in the process of delegating morality (...) to a computer database. In the UK, the issues that these cases raise have resulted in legislation designed to protect children which allows for the creation of a huge database for children. Paradoxically, we have the situation where we failed to use digital data in enforcing the law to protect children, yet we may now rely heavily on digital technologies to care for children. I draw on the work of Floridi, Sanders, Collins, Kusch, Latour and Akrich, a spectrum of work stretching from philosophy to sociology of technology and the “seamless web” or “actor–network” approach to studies of technology. Intentionality is considered, but not deemed necessary for meaningful moral behaviour. Floridi’s and Sanders’ concept of “distributed morality” accords with the network of agency characterized by actor–network approaches. The paper concludes that enfranchizing non-humans, in the shape of computer databases of personal data, as moral agents is not necessarily problematic but a balance of delegation of morality must be made between human and non-human actors. (shrink)
Information technology and the Internet have added a new stakeholder concern to the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda: online privacy. While theory suggests that online privacy is a CSR, only very few studies in the business ethics literature have connected these two. Based on a study of CSR disclosures, this article contributes to the existing literature by exploring whether and how the largest IT companies embrace online privacy as a CSR. The findings indicate that only a small (...) proportion of the companies have comprehensive privacy programs, although more than half of them voice moral or relational motives for addressing online privacy. The privacy measures they have taken are primarily compliance measures, while measures that stimulate a stakeholder dialogue are rare. Overall, a wide variety of approaches to addressing privacy was found, which suggests that no institutionalization of privacy practices has taken place as yet. The study therefore indicates that online privacy is rather new on the CSR agenda, currently playing only a minor role. (shrink)
This essay examines some ethical aspects of stalkingincidents in cyberspace. Particular attention is focused on the Amy Boyer/Liam Youens case of cyberstalking, which has raised a number of controversial ethical questions. We limit our analysis to three issues involving this particular case. First, we suggest that the privacy of stalking victims is threatened because of the unrestricted access to on-linepersonal information, including on-line public records, currently available to stalkers. Second, we consider issues involving moral responsibility and legal liability for (...) Internet service providers (ISPs) when stalking crimesoccur in their `space' on the Internet. Finally, we examine issues of moral responsibility for ordinary Internet users to determine whether they are obligated to inform persons whom they discover to be the targets of cyberstalkers. (shrink)
The cluster of concerns usually identified asmatters of privacy can be adequately accountedfor by unpacking our natural rights to life,liberty, and property. Privacy as derived fromfundamental natural rights to life, liberty,and property encompasses the advantages of thecontrol and restricted access theories withouttheir attendant difficulties.
Is there any reason not to spy on other people as necessary to get the facts straight, especially if you can put the facts you uncover to good use? To “spy” is secretly to monitor or investigate another's beliefs, intentions, actions, omissions, or capacities, especially as revealed in otherwise concealed or confidential conduct, communications and documents. By definition, spying involves secret, covert activity, though not necessarily lies, fraud or dishonesty. Nor does spying necessarily involve the use of special equipment, such (...) as a tape recorder or high-powered binoculars. Use of a third party agent, such as a “private eye” or Central Intelligence Agency operative is not necessary for surveillance to count as spying. Spying is morally troublesome both because it violates privacy norms and because it relies on secrecy and, perhaps, nefarious deception. Contemporary technologies of data collection make secret, privacy-invading surveillance easy and nearly irresistible. For every technology of confidential personal communication - telephone, mobile phone, computer email - there are one or more counter-technologies of eavesdropping. But covert surveillance conducted by amateur and professional spies still includes old-fashioned techniques of stealth, trickery and deception known a half century ago: shadowing by car, peeking at letters and diaries, donning disguises, breaking and entering, taking photographs, and tape recording conversations. The ethical examination of spying cannot be reduced to a conversation about reigning in the mischief potential of twenty-first century technology. We do need to concern ourselves with what tomorrow's spies will do with nanotechnology, but plenty of spying is possible with the time-tested techniques of the Baby Boomers, or even, for that matter, the Victorians. The philosophical problem I wish to consider here is the ethical limits of spying on others, when the reasons for spying are good. I explore the plausibility of three interrelated ideas. The first idea is one I will call the anti-spying principle: spying on other adults is prima facie unethical. The second idea is an exception to the anti-spying principle: spying on others is ethically permissible, even mandatory, in certain situations, where the ends are good. The third and final idea is a constraint on exceptions to the anti-spying principle: where spying is ethically permitted or required, there are ethical limits on the methods of spying. The virtuous spy will violate privacy and transparency norms, of course; but he or she will, to the extent possible, continue to act with respect for the moral autonomy and for the moral and legal interests of the investigative target. (shrink)
In this paper, I survey liberal and communitarian defenses of privacy, paying particular attention to defenses of privacy in the workplace. I argue that liberalism cannot explain all our of intuitions about the wrongness of workplace invasions of privacy. Communitarianism, on the other hand, is able to account for these intuitions.
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. (shrink)
Profiling technologies are the facilitating force behind the vision of Ambient Intelligence in which everyday devices are connected and embedded with all kinds of smart characteristics enabling them to take decisions in order to serve our preferences without us being aware of it. These technological practices have considerable impact on the process by which our personhood takes shape and pose threats like discrimination and normalisation. The legal response to these developments should move away from a focus on entitlements to personal (...) data, towards making transparent and controlling the profiling process by which knowledge is produced from these data. The tendency in intellectual property law to commodify information embedded in software and profiles could counteract this shift to transparency and control. These rights obstruct the access and contestation of the design of the code that impacts one’s personhood. This triggers a political discussion about the public nature of this code and forces us to rethink the relations between property, privacy and personhood in the digital age. (shrink)
This paper deals with intercultural aspects of privacy, particularly with regard to differences between Japanese and Western conceptions. It starts with a reconstruction of the genealogy of Western subjectivity and human dignity as the basic assumptions underlying Western views on privacy. An analysis of the Western concept of informational privacy is presented. The Japanese topic of ‘‘denial of self” (Musi) as well as the concepts of Seken, Shakai and Ikai (as analyzed by the authors of the companion (...) piece on privacy in Japan) give rise to intercultural comparisons. The paper addresses the question of privacy in cyberspace and mass media. Finally the question of freedom of speech is related to the Japanese concepts of Ohyake and Watakusi. (shrink)
I begin with a discussion of the value of privacy and what we lose without it. I then turn to the difficulties of preserving privacy for genetic information and other medical records in the face of advanced information technology. I suggest three alternative public policy approaches to the problem of protecting individual privacy and also preserving databases for genetic research:(1) governmental guidelines and centralized databases, (2) corporate self-regulation, and (3) my hybrid approach. None of these are unproblematic; (...) I discuss strengths and drawbacks of each, emphasizing the importance of protecting the privacy of sensitive medical and genetic information as well as letting information technology flourish to aid patient care, public health and scientific research. (shrink)
A panel held at the International Conference on Information Systems, December 5–7, 1993, addressed the importance and ethicality of several issues relating to ethics and information technology use. The substance of the debate and results of audience votes on the issues are presented in this paper as a means of initiating a broader debate on the issues, for it is with debate that we reach a group consensus on acceptable behavior and practice. With consensus, we can begin to develop codes (...) and policies that are feasible and practical for ethical computer use.Specific dilemmas debated involved the issues of privacy and ownership, including the ethicality of using company resources for personal use and monitoring compliance to company policies about computer use. In general, we found little consensus about ethicality of any of the types of conduct, although we found a high degree of consensus that the debated issues were important and should continue to be discussed. The final question concerned policies and codes. While policies and codes were believed to be necessary, they were also perceived as ineffective. Several suggestions for practical action to enhance the efficacy of ethical codes are presented. (shrink)
While maintaining the importance of privacy for critical evaluations of surveillance technologies, I suggest that privacy also constrains the debate by framing analyses in terms of the individual. Public space provides a site for considering what is at stake with surveillance technologies besides privacy. After describing two accounts of privacy and one of public space, I argue that surveillance technologies simultaneously add an ambiguityand a specificity to public places that are detrimental to the social, cultural, and (...) civic importance of these places. By making public places accessible to other places and/or times, surveillance technologies make these social contexts ambiguous by blurring their spatial and temporal bounds. At the same time, surveillancetechnologies valence public places in functionally specificways that are detrimental to informal civic life. To complement defensive approaches to surveillance technologies based onindividual privacy, I conclude by suggesting how sociality as a relational value or an ethics of place as a contextual value could provide a proactive line of reasoning for affirming the value ofthat which is between people and places. (shrink)
I will argue that the fairly common assumption that brain imaging may compromise people’s privacy in an undesirable way only if moral crimes are committed is false. Sometimes persons’ privacy is compromised because of failures of privacy. A normal emotional reaction to failures of privacy is embarrassment and shame, not moral resentment like in the cases of violations of right to privacy. I will claim that if (1) neuroimaging will provide all kinds of information about (...) persons’ inner life and not only information that is intentionally searched for, and (2) there will be more and more application fields of fMRI and more and more people whose brains will be scanned (without any coercion), then, in the future, shame may be an unfortunately common feeling in our culture. This is because failures of privacy may dramatically increase. A person may feel shame strongly and long, especially if his failure is witnessed by people who he considers relatively important, but less than perfectly trustworthy. (shrink)
The accuracy principle is one of the key standards of informational privacy. It epitomises the obligation for those processing personal data to keep their records accurate and up-to-date, with the aim of protecting individuals from unfair decisions. Currently, however, different practices being put in place in order to enhance the protection of individuals appear to deliberately rely on the use of ‘inaccurate’ personal information. This article explores such practices and tries to assess their potential for privacy protection, giving (...) particular attention to their legal implications and to related ethical issues. Ultimately, it suggests that the use of ‘inaccurate’ data can potentially play a useful role to preserve the informational autonomy of the individual, and that any understandings of privacy or personal data protection that would tend to unduly limit such potential should be critically questioned. (shrink)
Can consciousness and the human mind be understood and explained in sheerly physical terms? Materialism is a philosophical/scientific theory, according to which the mind is completely physical. This theory has been around for literally thousands of years, but it was always stymied by its inability to explain how exactly mere matter could do the amazing things the mind can do. Beginning in the 1980s, however, a revolution began quietly boiling away in the neurosciences, yielding increasingly detailed theories about how the (...) brain might accomplish consciousness. Nevertheless, a fundamental obstacle remains. Contemporary research techniques seem to still have the scientific observer of the conscious state locked out of the sort of experience the subjects themselves are having. Science can observe, stimulate, and record events in the brain, but can it ever enter the most sacred citadel, the mind? Can it ever observe the most crucial properties of conscious states, the ones we are aware of? If it can't, this creates a problem. If conscious mental states lack a basic feature possessed by all other known physical states, i.e., the capability to be observed or experienced by many people, this give us reason to believe that they are not entirely physical. -/- In this intriguing book, William Hirstein argues that it is indeed possible for one person to directly experience the conscious states of another, by way of what he calls mindmelding. This would involve making just the right connections in two peoples' brains, which he describes in detail. He then follows up the many other consequences of the possibility that what appeared to be a wall of privacy can actually be breached. -/- Drawing on a range of research from neuroscience and psychology, and looking at executive functioning, mirror neuron work, as well as perceptual phenomena such as blind-sight and filling-in, this book presents a highly original new account of consciousness. (shrink)
Private information about individuals contained in computerized data bases is readily available to journalists, who have a moral obligation to inform the masses as a means of redistributing power in society. The journalist's duty to inform, however, conflicts with the duty to respect the privacy of individuals. Because legislation is largely ineffective in protecting individual privacy, the journalist's moral responsibility assumes additional weight. However, the journalist should not allow the claim of privacy to keep him or her (...) from investigating matters in which the public has a legitimate interest. To determine the extent of legitimate interest, the journalist must be able to distinguish between a right to knowledge and a curious interest in knowing. The journalist is offered a 5-point test to assist in determining when an invasion of privacy via data-base research and subsequent publication is warranted. (shrink)
Questions of privacy have become particularly salient in recent years due, in part, to information-gathering initiatives precipitated by the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, increasing power of surveillance and computing technologies, and massive data collection about individuals for commercial purposes. While privacy is not new to the philosophical and legal literature, there is much to say about the nature and value of privacy. My focus here is on the nature of informational privacy. I argue that the (...) predominant accounts of privacy are unsatisfactory and offer an alternative: for a person to have informational privacy is for there to be limits on the particularized judgments that others are able to reasonably make about that person. (shrink)
I will argue that one class of issues in computer ethics oftenassociated with privacy and a putative right to privacy isbest-analyzed in terms that make no substantive reference toprivacy at all. These issues concern the way that networkedinformation technology creates new ways in which conventionalrights to personal security can be threatened. However onechooses to analyze rights, rights to secure person and propertywill be among the most basic, the least controversial, and themost universally recognized. A risk-based approach to theseissues (...) provides a clearer statement of what is ethicallyimportant, as well as what is ethically problematic. Once theissues of security have been articulated clearly, it becomespossible to make out genuine issues of privacy in contrast tothem. (shrink)
This paper draws upon contemporary feminist philosophy in order to consider the changing meaning of privacy and its relationship to identity, both online and offline. For example, privacy is now viewed by European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as a right, which when breached can harm us by undermining our ability to maintain social relations. I briefly outline the meaning of privacy in common law and under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in order to show (...) the relevance of contemporary feminist thought, in particular the image of selfhood that stresses its relationality. I argue that the meaning of privacy is in the process of altering as a result of a number of contingent factors including both changes in technology, particularly computer mediated communication (CMC), and changes in the status of women. This latter point can be illustrated by the feminist critique of the traditional reluctance of the liberal state to interfere with violence and injustice within the “privacy” of the home. In asking the question: “how is the meaning of “privacy” changing?” I consider not only contemporary legal case law but also Thomas Nagel’s influential philosophical analysis of privacy. Nagel’s position is useful because of the detail with which he outlines what privacy used to mean, whilst bemoaning its passing. I agree with his view that its meaning is changing but am critical of his perspective. In particular, I challenge his claim regarding the traditional “neutrality of language” and consider it in the context of online identity. (shrink)
The right to privacy is a moral concept that has been debated for centuries. This article traces the histo y of the concept and examines how the existence of a right to privacy has been defended by philosophers through the years. This article examines the strategies behind those arguments, showing how some of them are more convincing than others. Following this analysis is a practical argument for recognizing a universal right to privacy over intimate relationships and information. (...) Intimacy is a part of human dipity, and revealing it does not tell much about the character of politicians, or anyone else. Intimacy deserves protection. (shrink)
Technology used in online marketing has advanced to a state where collection, enhancement and aggregation of information are instantaneous. This proliferation of customer information focused technology brings with it a host of issues surrounding customer privacy. This article makes two key contributions to the debate concerning digital privacy. First, we use theories of justice to help understand the way consumers conceive of, and react to, privacy concerns. Specifically, it is argued that an important component of consumers’ (...) class='Hi'>privacy concerns relates to fairness judgments, which in turn comprise of the two primary components of distributive and procedural justice. Second, we make a number of prescriptions, aimed at both firms and regulators, based on the notion that consumers respond to perceived privacy violations in much the same way they would respond to an unfair exchange. (shrink)
The article provides an instructive in-depth analysis of communicative practices in the personal blog. Its aim is to document the discursive dynamics and interactional ethics of blogging, with a specific focus on negotiations of the blogging self in-between public and private. Based on key findings from an empirical case study of personal blogs, the article addresses the negotiation of the blogging self from three interdependent perspectives: the network structures, patterns of interaction, and thematic orientations of the blog. Instead of approaching (...) the online self as the individual blogger’s self-presentation to an often unknown and unfamiliar audience, I analyse and discuss the ‘blogging self’ as a relational and collaborative accomplishment, as something that is constantly subject to negotiation between author and readers, and is framed by the blog as a communicative genre. The theoretical foundation for this relational approach to the self is inspired by the work of sociologist Georg Simmel on how individuals attune to their networks of affiliation in a process of socialisation (Simmel 1955). The article contributes to the discussion of ethical behaviour and privacy protection in social media by highlighting the role of phatic communication in the blog. Specifically, I demonstrate how participants in the blog network negotiate and maintain an ethos of privacy protection in and through practices associated with the phatic. They do this by adhering to a ‘principle of sociability’, allowing them to experience their communication as personal but not private. (shrink)
This article highlights a contemporary privacy problem that falls outside the scope of dominant theoretical approaches. Although these approaches emphasize the connection between privacy and a protected personal (or intimate) sphere, many individuals perceive a threat to privacy in the widespread collection of information even in realms normally considered "public". In identifying and describing the problem of privacy in public, this article is preliminary work in a larger effort to map out future theoretical directions.
What is privacy? What does privacy mean in relation to biobanking, in what way do the participants have an interest in privacy, (why) is there a right to privacy, and how should the privacy issue be regulated when it comes to biobank research? A relational view of privacy is argued for in this article, which takes as its basis a general discussion of several concepts of privacy and attempts at grounding privacy rights. (...) In promoting and protecting the rights that participants in biobank research might have to privacy, it is argued that their interests should be related to the specific context of the provision and reception of health care that participation in biobank research is connected with. Rather than just granting participants an exclusive right to or ownership of their health information, which must be waived in order to make biobank research possible, the privacy aspect of health information should be viewed in light of the moral rights and duties that accompany any involvement in a research based system of health services. (shrink)
When tennis fan Jane Bronstein attended the 1995 U.S. Open she probably knew there was a remote chance her image would end up on television screens around the world. But she surely did not know she was at risk of becoming the object of worldwide attention on the David Letterman Show. As it happened, Letterman spotted an unflattering clip from the U.S. Open showing a heavyset Bronstein with peach juice dripping down her chin. Not only did he show the footage (...) six times that fall, but he ridiculed her on his “Top 10 List,” calling her a “seductive temptress,” even paying to put the clip on the Sony Jumbotron electronic billboard at Time Square. Ms. Bronstein sued David Letterman’s production company under New York civil rights law for violating her privacy. (shrink)
Many countries have imposed strict regulations on the genetic information to which insurers have access. Commentators have warned against the emerging body of legislation for different reasons. This paper demonstrates that, when confronted with the argument that genetic information should be available to insurers for health insurance underwriting purposes, one should avoid appeals to rights of genetic privacy and genetic ignorance. The principle of equality of opportunity may nevertheless warrant restrictions. A choice-based account of this principle implies that it (...) is unfair to hold people responsible for the consequences of the genetic lottery, since we have no choice in selecting our genotype or the expression of it. However appealing, this view does not take us all the way to an adequate justification of inaccessibility of genetic information. A contractarian account, suggesting that health is a condition of opportunity and that healthcare is an essential good, seems more promising. I conclude that if or when predictive medical tests (such as genetic tests) are developed with significant actuarial value, individuals have less reason to accept as fair institutions that limit access to healthcare on the grounds of risk status. Given the assumption that a division of risk pools in accordance with a rough estimate of people's level of (genetic) risk will occur, fairness and justice favour universal health insurance based on solidarity. (shrink)
Bioinformatics is a new field of study whose ethical implications involve a combination of bioethics, computer ethics and information ethics. This paper is an attempt to view some of these implications from the perspective of Buddhism. Privacy is a central concern in both computer/information ethics and bioethics, and with information technology being increasingly utilized to process biological and genetic data, the issue has become even more pronounced. Traditionally, privacy presupposes the individual self but as Buddhism does away with (...) the ultimate conception of an individual self, it has to find a way to analyse and justify privacy that does not presuppose such a self. It does this through a pragmatic conception that does not depend on a positing of the substantial self, which is then found to be unnecessary for an effective protection of privacy. As it may be possible one day to link genetic data to individuals, the Buddhist conception perhaps offers a more flexible approach, as what is considered to be integral to an individual person is not fixed in objectivity but depends on convention. (shrink)
The present study examines certain challenges that KDD (Knowledge Discovery in Databases) in general and data mining in particular pose for normative privacy and public policy. In an earlier work (see Tavani, 1999), I argued that certain applications of data-mining technology involving the manipulation of personal data raise special privacy concerns. Whereas the main purpose of the earlier essay was to show what those specific privacy concerns are and to describe how exactly those concerns have been introduced (...) by the use of certain KDD and data-mining techniques, the present study questions whether the use of those techniques necessarily violates the privacy of individuals. This question is considered vis-à-vis a recent theory of privacy advanced by James Moor (1997). The implications of that privacy theory for a data-mining policy are also considered. (shrink)
The Human Genome Project has raised many issues regarding the contributions of genetics to a variety of diseases and societal conditions. With genetic testing now easily conducted with lowered costs in nonmedical domains, a variety of privacy issues must be considered. Such testing will result in the loss of significant privacy rights for the individual. Society must now consider such issues as the ownership of genetic data, confidentiality rights to such information, limits placed on genetic screening, and legislation (...) to control genetic testing and its applications. There is often a conflict between individual rights to privacy and the need for societal protection. (shrink)
The relationship of workers to management has traditionally been one of control. However, the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology as a means of supervision in the modern workplace has dramatically altered the contours of this relationship, giving workers much less privacy and making workers much more visible than previously possible. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of technological control of workers and how it has altered the relationship of worker to organization, through the impact (...) upon self as perceived by the worker. (shrink)
Privacy is a relational and relative concept that has been defined in a variety of ways. In this paper we offer a systematic discussion of potentially different notions of privacy. We conclude that privacy as the freedom or immunity from the judgement of others is an extremely useful concept to develop ways in which to understand privacy claims and associated risks. To this end, we develop a framework of principles that explores the interrelations of interests and (...) values for various stakeholders where privacy concerns have risen or are expected to rise. We argue that conflicts between the interests and values of different stakeholders may result in legitimate claims of privacy/transparency being ignored or underrepresented. Central to this analysis is the notion of a stakeholder. We argue that stakeholders are persons or groups with legitimate interests, of intrinsic value, in the procedural and/or substantive aspects of the privacy/transparency claim and subsequent judgements on that basis. Using the principles of access, representation, and power, which flow from our framework of analysis, we show how they can facilitate the identification of potential privacy/transparency risks using examples from the British National Health Service. (shrink)
This paper explores the degree of privacy athletes can expect and demand in the era of genetic technology in sport. Detecting genetic enhancements in sport, and consequently doping violations, using genetic tests is problematic because testing requires access to athletes' genetic information, and accessing genetic information creates many potential privacy issues and concerns throughout the world. Whether it is morally acceptable to subject athletes to the tests used to detect genetic modifications in sport is taken up in this (...) paper, and I argue that the elite sport movement faces an ethical dilemma since rules prohibit athletes from utilising certain substances, methods and procedures, but the testing methods needed to ensure compliance with the rules are controversial and at odds with a reasonable expectation of privacy. (shrink)
One of the more salient concerns about nanotechnology is the fear that it will harm privacy by collecting personal information and distributing it. This sentiment is complicated by the fact that the specific nanotechnologies that might affect privacy are located more in the near future than in the present, so our knowledge of them is more speculative than empirical. To come to terms with these issues, we will need both knowledge of the science – what is realistic and (...) what is not – and a sense of the on-going discourses on privacy and technology that are likely to frame feelings about nanotech. (shrink)
While electronic mail has enjoyed rapid growth in the workplace, many companies have failed to establish clear expectations among employees about their e-mail privacy rights. This has resulted in controversy and even lawsuits against employers where employees later learned that management personnel monitored or read their electronic communications. It has been speculated that most employees underestimate the legal right of their employer to engage in e-mail monitoring activities. However, this issue has been virtually unexplored from a research perspective. Consequently, (...) the purpose of this study is to assess individuals'' ethical beliefs and perceptions about electronic mail privacy. This study of more than 200 e-mail users reveals that there is significant resistance to e-mail monitoring, and that many individuals have a relatively poor understanding of their e-mail privacy rights. The results also suggest that companies need to develop and communicate a policy to employees that addresses this issue. Finally, this study suggests several possibilities for further research. Building a greater body of knowledge of this domain should assist business leaders and lawmakers as they work to formulate an effective response to this workplace challenge that will equitably balance the rights of employees and employers. (shrink)
Moore attempts to show that privacy, conceived as "control over access to oneself and to information about oneself" is "necessary" for human well-being. Moore grounds his argument in an analysis of the need for physical separation, which Moore suggests is universal among animal species. Moore notes, "One basic finding of animal studies is that virtually all animals seek periods of individual seclusion or small-group intimacy." Citing several studies involving rats and other animals, Moore points out that a lack of (...) such separate space frequently results in threats to survival. Moore goes on to suggest, quite plausibly, that since we evolved from such animals, we share some need for separation. I argue such reasoning involves a conceptual mistake, as a need for physical space and separation is not obviously tantamount to a need for privacy of any kind - much less a need for information privacy. (shrink)