Obscurity and Privacy
Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Technology (Joseph Pitt & Ashley Shew, eds., 2014 Forthcoming)
20 Pages Posted: 23 May 2014
Date Written: May 21, 2014
‘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.
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