posted Sep 07, 2003
in Communication Ethics

This entry is part of the BlogBook called "The Ethics of Modern Communication".

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

In the final analysis, modern privacy concerns center around the flow of privacy-sensitive information, rather then the gathering of that information in the first place. In other words, privacy is primarily a communication concern. Concerns about surveillance are practically worthwhile, because it's difficult or impossible for an entity to possess information without communicating it to somebody, but in theory it is possible. By modelling privacy concerns based on the flow of information, we can and should begin to see such information as another kind of intellectual property, subject to the same protections and legal machinery. It should be legally meaningful to say to a corporation that they can have my address but are forbidden to sell or even give that information to anyone else (even "business partners"), just as they can sell me a book contingent on the condition that I don't post copies on the Internet, regardless of the price I'd charge. New legislation will be required to support this, but not truly new legal principles.


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