Res Publica 27 (3):309-328 (2021)

Jakob Mainz
Aarhus University
In this paper, I offer an indirect argument for the Access Theory of privacy. First, I develop a new version of the rival Control Theory that is immune to all the classic objections against it. Second, I show that this new version of the Control Theory collapses into the Access Theory. I call the new version the ‘Negative Control Account’. Roughly speaking, the classic Control Theory holds that you have privacy if, and only if, you can control whether other people know personal information about you. Critics of the Control Theory often give counterexamples, where privacy is either not diminished even though the claimant has lost control, or where privacy is diminished even though the claimant is in control. I argue that none of these alleged counterexamples work against the Negative Control Account. However, this is not a victory for the control theorist, because the Negative Control Account collapses into the Access Theory. The paper thus adds to the recent trend in the literature of favoring the Access Theory over the Control Theory.
Keywords Privacy  Control Theory  Access Theory  Rights
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-021-09521-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,132
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Why Privacy is Important.James Rachels - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):323-333.
The Right to Privacy.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 4 (4):295-314.
Privacy, Morality, and the Law.W. A. Parent - 1983 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (4):269-288.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Three Control Views on Privacy.Leonhard Menges - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
A Defense of Privacy as Control.Leonhard Menges - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (3):385-402.
Unknowableness and Informational Privacy.David Matheson - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:251-267.
Unknowableness and Informational Privacy.David Matheson - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:251-267.
A Dilemma for Privacy as Control.Björn Lundgren - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (2):165-175.
An Intrusion Theory of Privacy.George E. Panichas - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (2):145-161.
Protecting Health Privacy Even When Privacy is Lost.T. J. Kasperbauer - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (11):768-772.
The Right to Privacy Unveiled.Samuel C. Rickless - 2007 - San Diego Law Review 44 (1):773-799.
Privacy Rights: Moral and Legal Foundations.Adam D. Moore - 2010 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
Privacy by Design in Personal Health Monitoring.Anders Nordgren - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (2):148-164.


Added to PP index

Total views
11 ( #830,889 of 2,454,713 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #84,331 of 2,454,713 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes