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Books Year : 2012

On Privacy


Privacy is a Janus-faced value. It enables us to shut the world out, but the forms it takes and the extent to which it is protected are fundamentally public matters. Not surprisingly, then, privacy and its protection are the object of some of our most intractable conflicts over the proper role of the state and the rights and duties of individuals. This book explores the Janus-faced features of privacy, and looks at their implications for the control of personal information, for sexual and reproductive freedom, and for democratic politics. It asks what, if anything, is wrong with asking women to get licenses in order to get pregnant and have children, given that pregnancy and childbirth can seriously damage your health. It considers whether employers should be able to monitor the friendships and financial affairs of employees, and whether we are entitled to know whenever someone rich, famous or powerful has cancer, or has had an adulterous affair. It considers whether we are entitled to privacy in public and, if so, what this might mean for the use of CCTV cameras, the treatment of the homeless, and the provision of public facilities such as parks, libraries and lavatories. Above all, the books seeks to understand whether and, if so, why privacy is valuable in a democratic society, and what implications privacy has for the ways we see and treat each other. The ideas about privacy we have inherited from the past are marked by beliefs about what is desirable, realistic and possible which predate democratic government and, in some cases, predate constitutional government as well. Hence, this book argues, although privacy is an important democratic value, we can only realise that value if we use democratic ideas about the freedom, equality, security and rights of individuals to guide our understanding of privacy.
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hal-02506481 , version 1 (14-10-2022)



Annabelle Lever. On Privacy. Routledge, 2012, Thinking in Action, 9780415395700. ⟨hal-02506481⟩


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