Document Type

Article

Comments

Three Concepts of Privacy, 89 GEORGETOWN LAW JOURNAL 2087 (2001).

Abstract

Privacy is a value so complex, so entangled in competing and contradictory dimensions, so engorged with various and distinct meanings, that I sometimes despair whether it can be usefully addressed at all. Jeffrey Rosen's courage in eloquently addressing the subject with the sweep and vigor evident in The Unwanted Gaze is entirely admirable.' He has composed a rich and useful book, filled with perceptive observations and nuggets of sound advice. But as to capturing the core concept of privacy itself, I find myself cautious and reserved. In this brief Review Essay, I shall isolate and review three different and in some respects incompatible concepts of privacy that are each mentioned in the Prologue to The Unwanted Gaze. The first connects privacy to the creation of knowledge; the second connects privacy to dignity; and the third connects privacy to freedom. I shall argue that the first concept should not be understood as a question of privacy; that the second is a helpful way of apprehending privacy, but that it should focus our attention primarily upon forms of social structure; and that the third is best conceived as an argument for liberal limitations on government regulation.

Date of Authorship for this Version

2001

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Privacy Law Commons

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