posted Aug 22, 2003
in Communication Ethics

Communication Ethics book part for ``Traditional'' Privacy Defined. (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)

As we did for free speech and censorship, I wish to more carefully define "privacy" and maintain the original sense of the term, while extending as necessary to maintain its sense under modern pressures. The Merriam-Webster Online Collegiate Dictionary defines privacy as

1. a : the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : SECLUSION b : freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one's right to privacy>

I drop the second meaning, which is considered archaic and not germane to our point: "a place of seclusion", and the third meaning which is basically redundant: "a private matter : SECRET". For our purposes, we may also drop 1a; it contributes to our general understanding of privacy but communication ethics does not come into play when one is alone and no communication is occurring. Thus, we will deal primarily with "privacy" in the sense of 1b: "freedom from unauthorized intrusion".


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