Introduction: Conceptualizing Privacy Harms and Values

In Mark Navin & Ann Cudd (eds.), Core Concepts and Contemporary Issues in Privacy. Springer Verlag. pp. 1-13 (2018)


Privacy is widely valued, especially in individualistic cultures, because people want to control access to their bodies and to information about their personal choices. Privacy can promote a variety of goods. It can protect intimacy among friends and colleagues and create trusting relations of tolerance among strangers. Privacy can promote dignity, since it can be embarrassing to disclose secret or unconsidered thoughts or opinions, or to reveal one’s naked body or other private spaces. Privacy can also contribute to our individuality, self-respect, and autonomy; and privacy can protect us from a wide array of emotional or psychological harms associated with unwanted publicity. Privacy can also further important political and legal goods, including property rights, fraud prevention, and non-discrimination.

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Mark Christopher Navin
Oakland University

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