The Privacy Merchants: What is to Be Done?

23 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2012 Last revised: 18 Nov 2013

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: March 1, 2012


Rights have been long understood, first and foremost, as protection of the private from the public, the individual from the State. True, we also recognize positive rights (such as socioeconomic rights) and the government’s duty to protect citizens from violations of rights by other actors besides the State. However, when violations of privacy are discussed, the first violator that typically comes to mind is “Big Brother” — that is, the State. This Article focuses on the growing threat to privacy from private actors, specifically profit-making corporations. It briefly outlines a range of options aimed at protecting individual privacy against encroachment by private actors, and it evaluates them within the prevailing normative, legal, and political context in the United States.

Keywords: Privacy

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, The Privacy Merchants: What is to Be Done? (March 1, 2012). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012. Available at SSRN: or

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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