Privacy Rights

Privacy Rights: Moral and Legal Foundations

Adam D. Moore
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/j.ctt7v5q9
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  • Book Info
    Privacy Rights
    Book Description:

    We all know that Google stores huge amounts of information about everyone who uses its search tools, that Amazon can recommend new books to us based on our past purchases, and that the U.S. government engaged in many data-mining activities during the Bush administration to acquire information about us, including involving telecommunications companies in monitoring our phone calls (currently the subject of a bill in Congress). Control over access to our bodies and to special places, like our homes, has traditionally been the focus of concerns about privacy, but access to information about us is raising new challenges for those anxious to protect our privacy. In Privacy Rights, Adam Moore adds informational privacy to physical and spatial privacy as fundamental to developing a general theory of privacy that is well grounded morally and legally.

    eISBN: 978-0-271-05519-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    Individuals have privacy rights. We each have the right to control access to our bodies, to specific places, and to personal information. Beyond controlling access, individuals should, in large part, also determine how their own personal information is used. While control over access to bodies and places appears to be on firm ground, informational privacy is everywhere under siege. Corporations large and small engage in data-mining activities that capture massive amounts of information. Much of this information is about our daily activities—what was purchased, when, where, and for how much. Our mail boxes and e-mail accounts are then stuffed...

  5. 2 DEFINING PRIVACY
    (pp. 11-32)

    Privacy is a difficult notion to define in part because rituals of association and disassociation are culturally relative. For example, opening a door without knocking might be considered a serious privacy violation in one culture and yet permitted in another. Definitions of privacy can be couched in descriptive or normative terms—we can view privacy as a mere condition or as a moral claim on others to refrain from certain activities. Furthermore, some view privacy as a derivative notion that rests upon more basic rights such as liberty or property.

    There is little agreement on how to define privacy, but...

  6. 3 THE VALUE OF PRIVACY
    (pp. 33-56)

    It is commonly assumed that privacy is morally valuable. As James Whitman notes, “The typical privacy article rests its case precisely on an appeal to its reader’s intuitions and anxieties about the evils of privacy violations.”¹ Another common strategy is to derive the value of privacy from some other set of moral principles or commitments, such as autonomy or liberal democracy. For example, it is claimed that privacy is necessary for autonomy or liberal democracy; and since these latter ideals have moral value, privacy must as well.

    The difficulty with such strategies should be obvious. If someone does not share...

  7. 4 JUSTIFYING PRIVACY RIGHTS TO BODIES AND LOCATIONS
    (pp. 57-80)

    One of our most cherished rights, a right enshrined in law and notions of common morality, is the right of individuals to control access to bodies, places, and locations. Violations of this basic right are seen as some of the most serious of injustices. If the results of Chapter 3 are compelling, then we can say with some certainty that privacy rights are valuable for beings like us. Many will not find this result troubling or in need of much justification. Nevertheless, establishing the claim that the condition of privacy is valuable or that privacy rights are valuable still does...

  8. 5 PROVIDING FOR INFORMATIONAL PRIVACY RIGHTS
    (pp. 81-98)

    The introduction and advancement of what has become known as “information technologies” has dramatically changed our abilities to control personal information. Bits of information stored in analog form in various locations have now been digitized and, in many cases, linked to ever-expanding information networks. Individual profiles related to purchasing preferences and habits assembled through data mining are bought and sold like any other commodity. The ease with which highly personal information is retrieved, compiled, disseminated, and stored represents an important change from our analog past. While it is true that most, if not all, of the privacy invasions mentioned in...

  9. 6 STRENGTHENING LEGAL PRIVACY RIGHTS
    (pp. 99-132)

    It has been argued that individuals have locational privacy rights as well as rights to control personal information. These rights or moral claims, however, are not absolute. A theory that generated exceptionless moral rights that could never be justifiably overridden is as absurd as the view that such rights should be tossed aside for mere incremental gains in social utility. In the chapters to come the “weightiness” of privacy claims will be considered in the areas of freedom of speech, drug testing, free access arguments, and public accountability or security. If employers have overriding rights to monitor employees, digital natives...

  10. 7 PRIVACY, SPEECH, AND THE LAW
    (pp. 133-152)

    If we assume that individuals havemoralrights to free speech, and that privacy may restrict such expression, then there appears to be a conflict of rights—a conflict where speech or expression may trump privacy concerns. For example, when a musician offers up a song about a romantic affair for public consumption, privacy rights may run headlong into speech and expression rights. Andrew McClurg has noted that judges are not willing to protect privacy if doing so threatens free speech: “Of the forty-nine invasion of privacy cases reported by state courts in 1992, trial courts granted summary judgment to...

  11. 8 DRUG TESTING AND PRIVACY IN THE WORKPLACE
    (pp. 153-174)

    Being required, as a condition for continued employment, to submit a urine sample might strike many as a mild privacy intrusion—a necessary evil to be endured as part of one’s work life. Being watched while providing such a sample may seem more intrusive—but again, necessary because of the numerous ways to defeat such a test. Consent to such surveillance is a prominent justification. As with the consent argument in favor of allowing publicly available information to be published, discussed in Chapter 6, we may question the strength of the consent argument in favor of workplace drug testing.

    At...

  12. 9 EVALUATING FREE ACCESS ARGUMENTS: PRIVACY, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AND HACKING
    (pp. 175-188)

    Those who have grown up with digital technology—the so-called digital natives—have some novel views about information flow and access.¹ Along with freely sharing copyrighted material and in spite of the security risks, these individuals are willing to provide vast amounts of personal information on various social networking sites.² Much of this information is mined and available to anyone who cares to look. For example, companies increasingly search for information about prospective employees that might indicate questionable past decisions or information that goes against the core values of the corporation.³ One view regarding this openness with respect to personal...

  13. 10 PRIVACY, SECURITY, AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY
    (pp. 189-215)

    In times of national crisis citizens are often asked to trade liberty and privacy for security. And why not, it is argued, if we can obtain a fair amount of security for just a little privacy. The surveillance that enhances security need not be overly intrusive or life altering. It is not as if government agents need to physically search each and every suspect or those connected to a suspect. Advances in digital technology have made such surveillance relatively unobtrusive. Video monitoring, global positioning systems, and biometric technologies, along with data surveillance, provide law enforcement officials monitoring tools without also...

  14. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 216-224)
  15. FURTHER READINGS
    (pp. 225-233)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 234-238)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 239-239)