Privacy in the Family

In Beate Roessler and Dorota Mokrosinska (eds.), Social Dimensions of Privacy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 104-121). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

18 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2014 Last revised: 6 Mar 2018

See all articles by Bryce Clayton Newell

Bryce Clayton Newell

University of Oregon - School of Journalism and Communication

Cheryl Metoyer

University of Washington - The Information School

Adam D. Moore

University of Washington - The Information School

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

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.

Keywords: privacy, surveillance, family, information ethics, ethics, morality, moral, law

Suggested Citation

Newell, Bryce Clayton and Metoyer, Cheryl and Moore, Adam D., Privacy in the Family (2015). In Beate Roessler and Dorota Mokrosinska (eds.), Social Dimensions of Privacy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 104-121). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2540416

Bryce Clayton Newell (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - School of Journalism and Communication ( email )

Eugene, OR
United States

Cheryl Metoyer

University of Washington - The Information School ( email )

Box 353350
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://ischool.uw.edu/people/faculty/metoyer

Adam D. Moore

University of Washington - The Information School ( email )

Box 352840
Mary Gates Hall, Ste. 370
Seattle, WA 98195
206.685.9937 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ischool.uw.edu

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