Protecting Privacy in an Information Age: The Problem of Privacy in Public
New York University
Law and Philosophy, 1998
Philosophical and legal theories of privacy have long recognized the relationship between privacy and information about persons. They have, however, focused on personal, intimate, and sensitive information, assuming that with public information, and information drawn from public spheres, either privacy norms do not apply, or applying privacy norms is so burdensome as to be morally and legally unjustifiable. Against this preponderant view, I argue that information and communications technology, by facilitating surveillance, by vastly enhancing the collection, storage, and analysis of information, by enabling profiling, data mining and aggregation, has significantly altered the meaning of public information. As a result, a satisfactory legal and philosophical understanding of a right to privacy, capable of protecting the important values at stake in protecting privacy, must incorporate, in addition to traditional aspects of privacy, a degree of protection for privacy in public.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 9, 1998
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