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Obscurity and Privacy

Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Technology (Joseph Pitt & Ashley Shew, eds., 2014 Forthcoming)

20 Pages Posted: 23 May 2014  

Evan Selinger

Rochester Institute of Technology - Department of Philosophy

Woodrow Hartzog

Northeastern University School of Law and College of Computer and Information Science; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Date Written: May 21, 2014

Abstract

‘Obscurity’ is a distinctive concept in the privacy literature that has recently been gaining attention due to increasing frustration with the theoretical and practical limits of traditional privacy theory.

Obscurity identifies some of the fundamental ways information can be obtained or kept out of reach, correctly interpreted or misunderstood. Appeals to obscurity can generate explanatory power, clarifying how advances in the sciences of data collection and analysis, innovation in domains related to information and communication technology, and changes to social norms can alter the privacy landscape and give rise to three core problems: 1) new breaches of etiquette, 2) new privacy interests, and 3) new privacy harms.

This entry reviews the concept of obscurity and its theoretical, legal, normative, and technical foundations.

Suggested Citation

Selinger, Evan and Hartzog, Woodrow, Obscurity and Privacy (May 21, 2014). Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Technology (Joseph Pitt & Ashley Shew, eds., 2014 Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2439866

Evan Selinger

Rochester Institute of Technology - Department of Philosophy ( email )

92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5670
United States
(585) 475-2531 (Phone)

Woodrow Hartzog (Contact Author)

Northeastern University School of Law and College of Computer and Information Science ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.northeastern.edu/law/faculty/directory/hartzog.html

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society ( email )

Palo Alto, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/profile/woodrow-hartzog

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