In this chapter I give a brief explanation of what privacy is, argue that protecting privacy is important because violations of the right to privacy can harm us individually and collectively, and offer some advice as to how to protect our privacy online.
If one lives in a city and wants to be by oneself or have a private conversation with someone else, there are two ways to set about it: either one finds a place of solitude, such as one’s bedroom, or one finds a place crowded enough, public enough, that attention to each person dilutes so much so as to resemble a deserted refuge. Often, one can get more privacy in public places than in the most private of spaces. The (...) home is not always the ideal place to find privacy. Neighbours snoop, children ask questions, and family members judge. When the home suffocates privacy, the only escape is to go out, to the coffee shop, the public square. For centuries, city streets have been the true refuges of the solitaries, the overwhelmed, and the underprivileged. -/- Yet time and again we hear people arguing that we do not have any claim to privacy while on the streets because they are part of the so-called public sphere. The main objective of this chapter is to argue that privacy belongs as much in the streets as it does in the home. (shrink)
Disputes at the intersection of national security, surveillance, civil liberties, and transparency are nothing new, but they have become a particularly prominent part of public discourse in the years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001. This is in part due to the dramatic nature of those attacks, in part based on significant legal developments after the attacks (classifying persons as “enemy combatants” outside the scope of traditional Geneva protections, legal memos by White House counsel providing (...) rationale for torture, the USA Patriot Act), and in part because of the rapid development of communications and computing technologies that enable both greater connectivity among people and the greater ability to collect information about those connections. -/- One important way in which these questions intersect is in the controversy surrounding bulk collection of telephone metadata by the U.S. National Security Agency. The bulk metadata program (the “metadata program” or “program”) involved court orders under section 215 of the USA Patriot Act requiring telecommunications companies to provide records about all calls the companies handled and the creation of database that the NSA could search. The program was revealed to the general public in June 2013 as part of the large document leak by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA. -/- A fair amount has been written about section 215 and the bulk metadata program. Much of the commentary has focused on three discrete issues. First is whether the program is legal; that is, does the program comport with the language of the statute and is it consistent with Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures? Second is whether the program infringes privacy rights; that is, does bulk metadata collection diminish individual privacy in a way that rises to the level that it infringes persons’ rights to privacy? Third is whether the secrecy of the program is inconsistent with democratic accountability. After all, people in the general public only became aware of the metadata program via the Snowden leaks; absent those leaks, there would have not likely been the sort of political backlash and investigation necessary to provide some kind of accountability. -/- In this chapter I argue that we need to look at these not as discrete questions, but as intersecting ones. The metadata program is not simply a legal problem (though it is one); it is not simply a privacy problem (though it is one); and it is not simply a secrecy problem (though it is one). Instead, the importance of the metadata program is the way in which these problems intersect and reinforce one another. Specifically, I will argue that the intersection of the questions undermines the value of rights, and that this is a deeper and more far-reaching moral problem than each of the component questions. (shrink)
Current technology and surveillance practices make behaviors traceable to persons in unprecedented ways. This causes a loss of anonymity and of many privacy measures relied on in the past. These de facto privacy losses are by many seen as problematic for individual psychology, intimate relations and democratic practices such as free speech and free assembly. I share most of these concerns but propose that an even more fundamental problem might be that our very ability to act as autonomous (...) and purposive agents relies on some degree of privacy, perhaps particularly as we act in public and semi-public spaces. I suggest that basic issues concerning action choices have been left largely unexplored, due to a series of problematic theoretical assumptions at the heart of privacy debates. One such assumption has to do with the influential conceptualization of privacy as pertaining to personal intimate facts belonging to a private sphere as opposed to a public sphere of public facts. As Helen Nissenbaum has pointed out, the notion of privacy in public sounds almost like an oxymoron given this traditional private-public dichotomy. I discuss her important attempt to defend privacy in public through her concept of ‘contextual integrity.’ Context is crucial, but Nissenbaum’s descriptive notion of existing norms seems to fall short of a solution. I here agree with Joel Reidenberg’s recent worries regarding any approach that relies on ‘reasonable expectations’ . The problem is that in many current contexts we have no such expectations. Our contexts have already lost their integrity, so to speak. By way of a functional and more biologically inspired account, I analyze the relational and contextual dynamics of both privacy needs and harms. Through an understanding of action choice as situated and options and capabilities as relational, a more consequence-oriented notion of privacy begins to appear. I suggest that privacy needs, harms and protections are relational. Privacy might have less to do with seclusion and absolute transactional control than hitherto thought. It might instead hinge on capacities to limit the social consequences of our actions through knowing and shaping our perceptible agency and social contexts of action. To act with intent we generally need the ability to conceal during exposure. If this analysis is correct then relational privacy is an important condition for autonomic purposive and responsible agency—particularly in public space. Overall, this chapter offers a first stab at a reconceptualization of our privacy needs as relational to contexts of action. In terms of ‘rights to privacy’ this means that we should expand our view from the regulation and protection of the information of individuals to questions of the kind of contexts we are creating. I am here particularly interested in what I call ‘unbounded contexts’, i.e. cases of context collapses, hidden audiences and even unknowable future agents. (shrink)
While the balance between individual privacy and government monitoring or corporate surveillance has been a frequent topic across numerous disciplines, the issue of privacy within the family has been largely ignored in recent privacy debates. Yet privacy intrusions between parents and children or between adult partners or spouses can be just as profound as those found in the more “public spheres” of life. Popular access to increasingly sophisticated forms of electronic surveillance technologies has altered the dynamics (...) of family relationships. Monitoring, mediated and facilitated by practices of both covert and overt electronic surveillance, has changed the nature of privacy within the family. Parents are tracking children via GPS-enabled cell phone tracking software and are monitoring the Internet use of family members. Parents, siblings, and children are also posting information about their family members online, often without consent, and are creating social media profiles for others online. Prior scholarly work in philosophy and law has primarily addressed the privacy of children from third parties, usually commercial entities, and in the context of making medical decisions. Less attention has been directed at exploring a more general right of privacy of one family member against parents, siblings, children, or spouses. In this article, we do just that. We consider several moral rules that determine appropriate privacy boundaries within the family. More specifically, we will consider when overt or covert surveillance of a child, spouse, or partner by an adult family member is morally permitted. (shrink)
Recent developments in neuroscience create new opportunities for understanding the human brain. The power to do good, however, is also the power to harm, so scientific advances inevitably foster as many dystopian fears as utopian hopes. For instance, neuroscience lends itself to the fear that people will be forced to reveal thoughts and feelings which they would not have chosen to reveal, and of which they may be unaware. It also lends itself to the worry that people will be encouraged (...) to submit to medication or surgery which, even if otherwise beneficial, alters their brain in ways that undermine their identity and agency. As Kenneth Foster notes, neural implants can have surprising and unintended adverse effects, even when they help to mitigate the loss of bodily control associated with Parkinson’s disease, or help to provide hearing for children who would otherwise be profoundly deaf. While the risk of adverse outcomes are scarcely specific to neuroscience, he thinks that ‘These issues are perhaps more acute’ with the latter than with other medical interventions, ‘because they are intimately and fundamentally related to a person’s communication with the outside world’. [ 2006 196] -/- Neuroscience, like genomic science, then, is likely to create new ways of harming people. Many of these will involve violations of privacy. However, these are unlikely fundamentally to challenge the reasons to value privacy, or our ability to protect it in the foreseeable future. Rather, I would suggest, the major threat to privacy comes from the difficulty of determining its nature and value and when, if ever, efforts to protect it are justified. So I will start by examining some threats to privacy, and their implications for neuroscience, before turning to philosophical problems in understanding the nature and value of privacy, and the practical consequences of those philosophical difficulties. (shrink)
Particular applications of Privacy by Design (PbD) have proven to be valuable tools to protect privacy in many technological applications. However, PbD is not as promising when applied to technologies used for surveillance. After specifying how surveillance and privacy are understood in this paper, I will highlight the shortcomings of PbD when applied to surveillance, using a web-scanning system for counter-terrorism purposes as an example. I then suggest reworking PbD into a different approach: the Minimum Harm by (...) Design (MHbD) model. MHbD differs from PbD principally in that it acknowledges that the potential harms of surveillance bear not only upon privacy but also values that define the very constitution of a society and its political character. MHbD aims to identify and systematise the different categories of such harms and links them to current theories on surveillance on the one hand and on possible design measures on the other. (shrink)
In recent years, educational institutions have started using the tools of commercial data analytics in higher education. By gathering information about students as they navigate campus information systems, learning analytics “uses analytic techniques to help target instructional, curricular, and support resources” to examine student learning behaviors and change students’ learning environments. As a result, the information educators and educational institutions have at their disposal is no longer demarcated by course content and assessments, and old boundaries between information used for assessment (...) and information about how students live and work are blurring. Our goal in this paper is to provide a systematic discussion of the ways in which privacy and learning analytics conflict and to provide a framework for understanding those conflicts. -/- We argue that there are five crucial issues about student privacy that we must address in order to ensure that whatever the laudable goals and gains of learning analytics, they are commensurate with respecting students’ privacy and associated rights, including (but not limited to) autonomy interests. First, we argue that we must distinguish among different entities with respect to whom students have, or lack, privacy. Second, we argue that we need clear criteria for what information may justifiably be collected in the name of learning analytics. Third, we need to address whether purported consequences of learning analytics (e.g., better learning outcomes) are justified and what the distributions of those consequences are. Fourth, we argue that regardless of how robust the benefits of learning analytics turn out to be, students have important autonomy interests in how information about them is collected. Finally, we argue that it is an open question whether the goods that justify higher education are advanced by learning analytics, or whether collection of information actually runs counter to those goods. (shrink)
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)
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 stereotypes about sex, gender and sexuality and it significantly undermines Title VII's power to end discriminatory employment practices. (shrink)
The dominant legal and regulatory approach to protecting information privacy is a form of mandated disclosure commonly known as “notice-and-consent.” Many have criticized this approach, arguing that privacy decisions are too complicated, and privacy disclosures too convoluted, for individuals to make meaningful consent decisions about privacy choices—decisions that often require us to waive important rights. While I agree with these criticisms, I argue that they only meaningfully call into question the “consent” part of notice-and-consent, and that (...) they say little about the value of notice. We ought to decouple notice from consent, and imagine notice serving other normative ends besides readying people to make informed consent decisions. (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 rapid evolution of information, communication and entertainment technologies will transform the lives of citizens and ultimately transform society. This paper focuses on ethical issues associated with the likely convergence of virtual realities and social networks, hereafter VRSNs. We examine a scenario in which a significant segment of the world’s population has a presence in a VRSN. Given the pace of technological development and the popularity of these new forms of social interaction, this scenario is plausible. However, it brings with (...) it ethical problems. Two central ethical issues are addressed: those of privacy and those of autonomy. VRSNs pose threats to both privacy and autonomy. The threats to privacy can be broadly categorized as threats to informational privacy, threats to physical privacy, and threats to associational privacy. Each of these threats is further subdivided. The threats to autonomy can be broadly categorized as threats to freedom, to knowledge and to authenticity. Again, these three threats are divided into subcategories. Having categorized the main threats posed by VRSNs, a number of recommendations are provided so that policy-makers, developers, and users can make the best possible use of VRSNs. (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)
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)
Privacy is valued by many. But what it means to have privacy remains less than clear. In this paper, I argue that the notion of privacy should be understood in epistemic terms. What it means to have (some degree of) privacy is that other persons do not stand in significant epistemic relations to those truths one wishes to keep private.
In this paper, we address the issue of privacy protection in context aware services, through the use of entropy as a means of measuring the capability of locating a user’s whereabouts and identifying personal selections. We present a framework for calculating levels of abstraction in location and personal preferences reporting in queries to a context aware services server. Finally, we propose a methodology for determining the levels of abstraction in location and preferences that should be applied in user data (...) reporting during service provision, according to her personal privacy settings. (shrink)
: Does the rejection of pure proceduralism show that we should adopt Brettschneider’s value theory of democracy? The answer, this paper suggests, is ‘no’. There are a potentially infinite number of incompatible ways to understand democracy, of which the value theory is, at best, only one. The paper illustrates and substantiates its claims by looking at what the secret ballot shows us about the importance of privacy and democracy. Drawing on the reasons to reject Mill’s arguments for open voting, (...) in a previous paper by A. Lever, it argues that people’s claims to privacy have a constitutive, as well as an instrumental, importance to democratic government, which is best seen by attending to democracy as a practice, and not merely as a distinctive set of values. (shrink)
Recent discussions among lawyers, philosophers, policy researchers and athletes have focused on the potential threat to privacy posed by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) whereabouts requirements. These requirements demand, among other things, that all elite athletes file their whereabouts information for the subsequent quarter on a quarterly basis and comprise data for one hour of each day when the athlete will be available and accessible for no advance notice testing at a specified location of their choosing. Failure to file (...) one’s whereabouts, or the non-availability for testing at said location on three occasions within any 18-month period constitutes an anti-doping rule violation that is equivalent to testing positive to a banned substance, and may lead to a suspension of the athlete for a time period of between one and two years. We critically explore the extent to which WADA’s whereabouts requirements are in tension with existing legislation on privacy, with respect to UK athletes, who are simultaneously protected by UK domestic and EU law. Both UK domestic and EU law are subject to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Article 8, which establishes a right to “respect for private and family life, home and correspondence”. We critically discuss the centrality of the whereabouts requirements in relation to WADA’s aims, and the adoption and implementation of its whereabouts rules. We conclude that as WADA’s whereabouts requirements appear to be in breach of an elite athlete’s rights under European workers’ rights, health & safety and data protection law they are also, therefore, in conflict with Article 8 of the ECHR and the UK Human Rights Act 1998. We call for specific amendments that cater for the exceptional case of elite sports labour if the WADA requirements are to be considered legitimate. (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.
Philosophers have focused on why privacy is of value to innocent people with nothing to hide. I argue that for people who do have something to hide, such as a past crime, or bad behavior in a public place, informational privacy can be important for avoiding undeserved or disproportionate non-legal punishment. Against the objection that one cannot expect privacy in public facts, I argue that I might have a legitimate privacy interest in public facts that are (...) not readily accessible, or in details of a public fact that implicate my dignity, or in not having a public fact memorialized and spread to more people than I willingly exposed myself to. (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)
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)
The ability to collect fine-grained energy data from smart meters has benefits for utilities and consumers. However, a proactive approach to data privacy is necessary to maximize the potential of these data to support low-carbon energy systems, and innovative business models.
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)
Public and research libraries have long provided resources in electronic formats, and the tension between providing electronic resources and patron privacy is widely recognized. But assessing trade-offs between privacy and access to electronic resources remains difficult. One reason is a conceptual problem regarding intellectual freedom. Traditionally, the LIS literature has plausibly understood privacy as a facet of intellectual freedom. However, while certain types of electronic resource use may diminish patron privacy, thereby diminishing intellectual freedom, the opportunities (...) created by such resources also appear liberty-enhancing. Adjudicating between privacy loss and enhanced opportunities on intellectual freedom grounds must therefore provide an account of intellectual freedom capable of addressing both privacy and opportunity. I will argue that intellectual freedom is a form of positive freedom, where a person’s freedom is a function of the quality of her agency. Using this view as the lodestar, I articulate several principles for assessing adoption of electronic resources and privacy protections. (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)
This article argues that people have legitimate interests in privacy that deserve legal protection on democratic principles. It describes the right to privacy as a bundle of rights of personal choice, association and expression and shows that, so described, people have legitimate political interests in privacy. These interests reflect the ways that privacy rights can supplement the protection for people’s freedom and equality provided by rights of political choice, association and expression, and can help to make (...) sure that these are, genuinely, democratic. Feminists have often been ambivalent about legal protection for privacy, because privacy rights have, so often, protected the coercion and exploitation of women, and made it difficult to politicise personal forms of injustice. However, attention to the differences between democratic and undemocratic forms of politics can enable us to meet these concerns, and to distinguish a democratic justification of privacy rights from the alternatives. (shrink)
This is a study of the treatment of library patron privacy in licenses for electronic journals in academic libraries. We begin by distinguishing four facets of privacy and intellectual freedom based on the LIS and philosophical literature. Next, we perform a content analysis of 42 license agreements for electronic journals, focusing on terms for enforcing authorized use and collection and sharing of user data. We compare our findings to model licenses, to recommendations proposed in a recent treatise on (...) licenses, and to our account of the four facets of intellectual freedom. We find important conflicts with each. (shrink)
Webmasters are a key moral agent in the issue of privacy. This study attempts to understand the factors underlying their attitudes about privacy based on the theory of moral intensity. Webmasters of high-traffic sites were invited via email to participate in a web-based survey. The results support the application of moral intensity to the domain of privacy and the population of webmasters - both outcomes and social norms have statistically significant main effects on attitudes. The results also (...) suggest a reconfiguration of the dimensions of moral intensity. This is based on the observation that proximity to the organization has a negative main effect on attitudes, and it moderates the relationship between social norms and attitudes. The original theory of moral intensity did not acknowledge the possibility of this moderating role for proximity. These observations have important implications for future research and practice in the areas of privacy, moral intensity, and ethical decision making. (shrink)
Over the past decade the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) as a means of crime prevention has reached unprecedented levels. Though critics of this development do not speak with one voice and have pointed to a number of different problems in the use of CCTV, one argument has played a dominant role in the debate, namely, that CCTV constitutes an unacceptable violation of people’s right to privacy. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument critically. It (...) is suggested that the argument is hard to sustain. (shrink)
The dominant approach in privacy theory defines information privacy as some form of control over personal information. In this essay, I argue that the control approach is mistaken, but for different reasons than those offered by its other critics. I claim that information privacy involves the drawing of epistemic boundaries—boundaries between what others should and shouldn’t know about us. While controlling what information others have about us is one strategy we use to draw such boundaries, it is (...) not the only one. We conceal information about ourselves and we reveal it. And since the meaning of information is not self-evident, we also work to shape how others contextualize and interpret the information about us that they have. Information privacy is thus about more than controlling information; it involves the constant work of producing and managing public identities, what I call “social self- authorship.” In the second part of the essay, I argue that thinking about information privacy in terms of social self- authorship helps us see ways that information technology threatens privacy, which the control approach misses. Namely, information technology makes social self- authorship invisible and unnecessary, by making it difficult for us to know when others are forming impressions about us, and by providing them with tools for making assumptions about who we are which obviate the need for our involvement in the process. (shrink)
The opaque use of data collection methods on the WWW has given rise to privacy concerns among Internet users. Privacy policies on websites may ease these concerns, if they communicate clearly and unequivocally when, how and for what purpose data are collected, used or shared. This paper examines privacy policies from a linguistic angle to determine whether the language of these documents is adequate for communicating data-handling practices in a manner that enables informed consent on the part (...) of the user. The findings highlight that corporate privacy policies obfuscate, enhance and mitigate unethical data handling practices and use persuasive appeals to increase companies’ trustworthiness. The communicative strategies identified provide starting points for redesigning existing privacy statements with a view to communicating data handling practices in a more transparent and responsible manner, laying the groundwork for informed consent. (shrink)
Internalization is a key property of justification logics. It states that justification logics internalize their own notion of proof which is essential for the proof of the realization theorem. The aim of this note is to show how to make use of internalization to track where an agent’s knowledge comes from and how to apply this to the problem of data 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)
The growth of information acquisition, storage and retrieval capacity has led to the development of the practice of lifelogging, the undiscriminating collection of information concerning one’s life and behaviour. There are potential problems in this practice, but equally it could be empowering for the individual, and provide a new locus for the construction of an online identity. In this paper we look at the technological possibilities and constraints for lifelogging tools, and set out some of the most important privacy, (...) identity and empowerment-related issues. We argue that some of the privacy concerns are overblown, and that much research and commentary on lifelogging has made the unrealistic assumption that the information gathered is for private use, whereas, in a more socially-networked online world, much of it will have public functions and will be voluntarily released into the public domain. (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.
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)
This essay critically analyzes Luciano Floridi’s ontological theory of informational privacy. Organized into two main parts, Part I examines some key foundational components of Floridi’s privacy theory and it considers some of the ways in which his framework purports to be superior to alternative theories of informational privacy. Part II poses two specific challenges for Floridi’s theory of informational privacy, arguing that an adequate privacy theory should be able to: (i) differentiate informational privacy from (...) other kinds of privacy, including psychological privacy; and (ii) distinguish between descriptive and normative aspects of informational privacy in a way that differentiates a (mere) loss of privacy from a violation of privacy. I argue that Floridi’s privacy theory, in its present form, does not explicitly address either challenge. However, I also argue that his ontological theory provides us with a novel way of analyzing the impact that digital technologies have had for informational privacy. I conclude by suggesting that Floridi’s privacy framework can be interpreted as containing the elements of a “personality theory of privacy,” which would be useful to examine in a separate study. (shrink)
Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a technology which has been receiving considerable attention as of late. It is a fairly simple technology involving radio wave communication between a microchip and an electronic reader, in which an identification number stored on the chip is transmitted and processed; it can frequently be found in inventory tracking and access control systems. In this paper, we examine the current uses of RFID, as well as identifying potential future uses of the technology, including item-level (...) tagging, human implants and RFID-chipped passports, while discussing the impacts that each of these uses could potentially have on personal privacy. Possible guidelines for RFID’s use, including Fair Information Principles and the RFID Bill of Rights are then presented, as well as technological solutions to personal privacy problems, such as tag killing and blocker tags, as well as simple aluminum foil shields for passports. It is then claimed, though, that guidelines and technological solutions will be ineffective for privacy protection, and that legislation will be necessary to guard against the threats posed by the RFID. Finally, we present what we believe to be the most important legislative points that must be addressed. (shrink)
This manuscript reviews the background of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as well as the ethical foundations of individual privacy. This includes a historical perspective on personal privacy, a review of the United States Constitutional privacy interpretations, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, European Union Regulations, as well as the positions of industry and advocacy groups. A brief review of the information technology ethics literature is also included. The RFID privacy concerns are three-fold: pre-sales activities, sales (...) transaction activities, and post-sales uses. A proposal to address these privacy concerns is detailed, generally based on past philosophical frameworks and specifically on the Fair Information Practices that the Federal Trade Commission has outlined for the electronic marketplace (e-commerce). It is proposed that by application of these Fair Information Practices, the major privacy issues of RFID can be addressed. (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)
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)
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)
A growing body of theory has focused on privacy as being contextually defined, where individuals have highly particularized judgments about the appropriateness of what, why, how, and to whom information flows within a specific context. Such a social contract understanding of privacy could produce more practical guidance for organizations and managers who have employees, users, and future customers all with possibly different conceptions of privacy across contexts. However, this theoretical suggestion, while intuitively appealing, has not been empirically (...) examined. This study validates a social contract approach to privacy by examining whether and how privacy norms vary across communities and contractors. The findings from this theoretical examination support the use of contractual business ethics to understand privacy in research and in practice. As predicted, insiders to a community had significantly different understandings of privacy norms as compared to outsiders. In addition, all respondents held different privacy norms across hypothetical contexts, thereby suggesting privacy norms are contextually understood within a particular community of individuals. The findings support two conclusions. First, individuals hold different privacy norms without necessarily having diminished expectations of privacy. Individuals differed on the factors they considered important in calculating privacy expectations, yet all groups had robust privacy expectations across contexts. Second, outsiders have difficulty in understanding the privacy norms of a particular community. For managers and scholars, this renders privacy expectations more difficult to identify at a distance or in deductive research. The findings speak directly to the needs of organizations to manage a diverse set of privacy issues across stakeholder groups. (shrink)
This article is part of a symposium on property-owning democracy. In A Theory of Justice John Rawls argued that people in a just society would have rights to some forms of personal property, whatever the best way to organise the economy. Without being explicit about it, he also seems to have believed that protection for at least some forms of privacy are included in the Basic Liberties, to which all are entitled. Thus, Rawls assumes that people are entitled to (...) form families, as well as personal associations which reflect their tastes as well as their beliefs and interests. He seems also to have assumed that people are entitled to seclude themselves, as well as to associate with others, and to keep some of their beliefs, knowledge, feelings and ideas to themselves, rather than having to share them with others. So, thinking of privacy as an amalgam of claims to seclusion, solitude, anonymity and intimate association, we can say that Rawls appears to include at least some forms of privacy in his account of the liberties protected by the first principle of justice. -/- However, Rawls did not say very much about how he understands people’s claims to privacy, or how those claims relate to his ideas about property-ownership. This is unfortunate, because two familiar objections to privacy seem particularly pertinent to his conception of the basic liberties. The first was articulated with customary panache by Judith Thomson, in a famous article on the moral right to privacy, in which she argued that talk of a moral right to privacy is confused and confusing, because privacy rights are really just property rights in disguise. The second objection has long been a staple of leftist politics, and is that the association of privacy with private property means that privacy rights are just a mask for coercive and exploitative relationships, and therefore at odds with democratic freedom, equality and solidarity. If the first objection implies that Rawls is wrong to think that protection for privacy can be distinguished from protection of personal property, the second objection implies that Rawls cannot hope to protect privacy without thereby committing himself to the grossest forms of capitalist inequality. -/- In this paper I will not discuss Rawls’ views of property-owning democracy. However, by clarifying the relationship between claims to privacy and claims to property-ownership, I hope to illuminate some of the conceptual, moral and political issues raised by Rawls’ ideas, and by work on the concept of a property-owning democracy, which he inspired. As we will see, privacy-based justifications of private ownership are not always unappealing, and privacy is sometimes promoted, rather than threatened, by collective ownership. The conclusion draws out the significance of these claims for the idea of a property-owning democracy. (shrink)