19 Privacy and/in the Public Sphere

Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy 2016 (1):243-256 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Talking about privacy in the public prima facie seems to be a contradiction: why should privacy have to play a role within the public sphere? What could possibly be private in the public? However, quite a number of theories of privacy conceptualize privacy as a protective shield which we carry with us wherever we are: respect for privacy in public then means, for instance, not listening in on private conversations between friends on the street or in a cafe. The most important form of privacy in public, however, which has gained a lot of attention during the last decade or so, is privacy as anonymity: the form of privacy in the public sphere, online as well as offline, which means invisibility, nontraceability, not being identifiable as an individual person. Theories of privacy differ as to the possibility as well as to the desirabilty of anonymity in public contexts, online as well as offline. In my paper, I investigate the complicated relations between privacy, anonymity, and the public sphere. I will, firstly, clarify the conceptual relation between privacy and anonymity, drawing on theories which define privacy in terms of conditions enabling individual freedom and autonomy. I will also review some normatively relevant differences between the online and the offline world. In the second part, I will discuss possible normative conflicts between a moral or legal right to privacy and anonymity, and considerations of security, accountability, or moral responsibility. One of the important questions will concern the ethical consequences of the technical possibilities of identification and de-anonymization in the online world.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 84,152

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

In the Privacy of Our Streets.Carissa Véliz - 2018 - In Bryce Newell, Tjerk Timan & Bert-Jaap Koops (eds.), Surveillance, Privacy and Public Space. pp. 16-32.
Anonymity and the Social Self.Steve Matthews - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4):351 - 363.
New Ways of Thinking about Privacy.B. Roessler - 2006 - In Anne Philips Bonnie Honig & John Dryzek (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Political Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 694-713.
Does privacy undermine community.Mark Tunick - 2001 - Journal of Value Inquiry 35 (4):517-534.
Privacy Expectations at Work—What is Reasonable and Why?Elin Palm - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (2):201-215.
Privacy and Punishment.Mark Tunick - 2013 - Social Theory and Practice 39 (4):643-668.
Privacy.Edmund Byrne - 1998 - In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 649-659.
Four challenges for a theory of informational privacy.Luciano Floridi - 2006 - Ethics and Information Technology 8 (3):109–119.
Privacy and the Right to Privacy.H. J. McCloskey - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (211):17 - 38.
An Intrusion Theory of Privacy.George E. Panichas - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (2):145-161.
Privacy and the public/private dichotomy.Simon Dawes - 2011 - Thesis Eleven 107 (1):115-124.


Added to PP

36 (#350,913)

6 months
3 (#248,711)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Beate Roessler
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

Privacy in Public: A Democratic Defense.Titus Stahl - 2020 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 7 (1):73-96.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references