Why Privacy Matters: An Introduction

Neil Richards, Why Privacy Matters (Oxford Press 2021)

17 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2021

See all articles by Neil M. Richards

Neil M. Richards

Washington University School of Law; Yale Information Society Project; Stanford Center for Internet and Society

Date Written: December 1, 2021

Abstract

Everywhere we look, companies and governments are spying on us--seeking information about us and everyone we know. Ad networks monitor our web-surfing to send us "more relevant" ads. The NSA screens our communications for signs of radicalism. Schools track students' emails to stop school shootings. Cameras guard every street corner and traffic light, and drones fly in our skies. Databases of human information are assembled for purposes of "training" artificial intelligence programs designed to predict everything from traffic patterns to the location of undocumented migrants. We're even tracking ourselves, using personal electronics like Apple watches, Fitbits, and other gadgets that have made the "quantified self" a realistic possibility. As Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg once put it, "the Age of Privacy is over." But Zuckerberg and others who say "privacy is dead" are wrong. In Why Privacy Matters, Neil Richards explains that privacy isn't dead, but rather up for grabs.

Richards shows how the fight for privacy is a fight for power that will determine what our future will look like, and whether it will remain fair and free. If we want to build a digital society that is consistent with our hard-won commitments to political freedom, individuality, and human flourishing, then we must make a meaningful commitment to privacy. Privacy matters because good privacy rules can promote the essential human values of human identity, political freedom, and consumer protection. If we want to preserve our commitments to these precious yet fragile values, we will need privacy rules. Richards explains why privacy remains so important and offers strategies that can help us protect it from the forces that are working to undermine it. Pithy and forceful, this is essential reading for anyone interested in a topic that sits at the center of so many current problems.

Keywords: privacy, data protection, gdpr, trust, internet, big data, artificial intelligence

Suggested Citation

Richards, Neil M., Why Privacy Matters: An Introduction (December 1, 2021). Neil Richards, Why Privacy Matters (Oxford Press 2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3973131 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3973131

Neil M. Richards (Contact Author)

Washington University School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314.935.4794 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.wustl.edu/faculty-staff-directory/profile/neil-richards/

Yale Information Society Project ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Stanford Center for Internet and Society ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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