All posts tagged Conception of Privacy

What Is Privacy?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

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By Daniel J. Solove

What is privacy? This is a central question to answer, because a conception of privacy underpins every attempt to address it and protect it.  Every court that holds that something is or isn’t privacy is basing its decision on a conception of privacy — often unstated.  Privacy laws are also based on a conception of privacy, which informs what things the laws protect.  Decisions involving privacy by design also involve a conception of privacy.  When privacy is “baked into” products and services, there must be some understanding of what is being baked in.

Far too often, conceptions of privacy are too narrow, focusing on keeping secrets or avoiding disclosure of personal data.  Privacy is much more than these things.  Overly narrow conceptions of privacy lead to courts concluding that there is no privacy violation when something doesn’t fit the narrow conception.   Narrow or incomplete conceptions of privacy lead to laws that fail to address key problems.  Privacy by design can involve throwing in a few things and calling it “privacy,” but this is like cooking a dish that requires 20 ingredients but only including 5 of them.

It is thus imperative to think through what privacy is.  If you have an overly narrow or incomplete conception of privacy, you’re not going to be able to effectively identify privacy risks or protect privacy.

In my work, I have attempted to develop a practical and useable conception of privacy.  In what follows, I will briefly describe what I have developed.

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10 Reasons Why Privacy Matters

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

why privacy matters 1

by Daniel J. Solove

Why does privacy matter? Often courts and commentators struggle to articulate why privacy is valuable. They see privacy violations as often slight annoyances. But privacy matters a lot more than that. Here are 10 reasons why privacy matters.

1. Limit on Power

Privacy is a limit on government power, as well as the power of private sector companies. The more someone knows about us, the more power they can have over us. Personal data is used to make very important decisions in our lives. Personal data can be used to affect our reputations; and it can be used to influence our decisions and shape our behavior. It can be used as a tool to exercise control over us. And in the wrong hands, personal data can be used to cause us great harm.

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