Mental Privacy as Part of the Human Right to Freedom of Thought?
Forthcoming in M. Blitz and J.C. Bublitz (eds.), The Law and Ethics of Freedom of Thought Vol. 2: Cognitive Liberty and Privacy (Palgrave McMillan).
21 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2023
Date Written: May 31, 2023
It is generally accepted that the right to freedom of thought guarantees three different substantive freedoms: (1) that one is not compelled to reveal one’s thoughts, (2) that one’s thoughts are not impermissibly altered, and (3) that one is not sanctioned for one’s thoughts. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the first freedom implies that mental privacy is a ‘core attribute’ of freedom of thought. The present chapter explores the implications of this understanding of the right to freedom of thought from a legal point of view. With a focus on the ICCPR and ECHR, this chapter considers (1) the scope of the right to freedom of thought, (2) the absolute nature of the right, and (3) its relation to the right to privacy and the freedom of opinion and expression.
Keywords: Freedom of Thought, Mental Privacy, Freedom of Expression, Neurorights
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