The Idea of a Right to Genetic Privacy

Juridisk tidskrift, pp. 326-339, 2008-09

24 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2006 Last revised: 13 Feb 2014

Date Written: April 1, 2004

Abstract

The question I want to consider in this article is whether the idea of a right to genetic privacy can be a useful analytical tool in the analysis of moral or legal problems that concern genetic information. For example, is an employer or an insurance company or a researcher who gains access to genetic information about a person from a DNA data bank guilty of violating his/her right to privacy? Is an employer who requires that his/her employees undergo genetic testing guilty of violating their right to privacy? Does a law that interferes with a person's decision-making regarding personal, genetic issues violate his right to privacy? Some authors seem to think so, arguing as they do that our access to genetic information about other people ought to be circumscribed with the help of specific genetic privacy laws. I, for my part, am going to argue that the idea of a right to genetic privacy, conceived of as a special case of the idea of a general right to privacy, can indeed be a useful analytical tool in the analysis of such problems, provided that we understand that right as a claim-right that covers so-called informational and physical privacy and nothing more.

Keywords: right to privacy, right to liberty, public-private distinction

Suggested Citation

Spaak, Torben, The Idea of a Right to Genetic Privacy (April 1, 2004). Juridisk tidskrift, pp. 326-339, 2008-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923548

Torben Spaak (Contact Author)

Stockholm University ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
46 8 16 45 89 (Phone)
46 8 612 41 09 (Fax)

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