Nothing to Hide, but Something to Lose
University of Toronto Law Journal (2019 Forthcoming)
45 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 1, 2019
“I have nothing to hide” is among the most common and controversial arguments against privacy. In this article, we challenge this argument on its own terms. To do so, we construct a mathematical model combining the standard economic argument – that only people with “something to hide” will value privacy – with a formal concept of intrinsic privacy preferences and show that the inclusion of this second dimension causes the standard argument to fail. We then apply these insights to two legal contexts in which there are active policy debates: the protection of genetic information in the context of employer-provided health insurance and tax privacy.
Keywords: Privacy, Employment law, Surveillance, Genetic nondiscrimination, Tax privacy, Law & Economics, Information Privacy
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