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    Mokrosinska, Dorota 2018. Privacy and Autonomy: On Some Misconceptions Concerning the Political Dimensions of Privacy. Law and Philosophy, Vol. 37, Issue. 2, p. 117.

    Sorell, Tom 2018. The Rule of Crisis. Vol. 64, Issue. , p. 37.

    Galison, Peter 2008. Ten Problems in History and Philosophy of Science. Isis, Vol. 99, Issue. 1, p. 111.

  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: August 2009

13 - Our Privacy, Ourselves in the Age of Technological Intrusions


After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the United States government has elevated terrorism as the most important issue shaping government policies. What has happened and what should happen to legal protections of individual freedom in this context? Privacy is one of the individual freedoms in serious jeopardy due to post-9/11 governmental initiatives, yet it lacks comprehensive and clear definition in law and policy. Philosophically and historically, it may best be understood as a multivalent social and legal concept that refers simultaneously to seclusion, self-determination, and control over other people's access to oneself and to information about oneself. Even though its meanings are multiple and complex, privacy is closely connected with the emergence of a modern sense of self. Its jeopardy signals serious risk to the very conditions people need to enjoy the kind of self that can experiment, relax, form and enjoy intimate connections, and practice the development of ideas and beliefs for valued expression. The fragility of privacy is emblematic of the vulnerability of individual dignity and personal rights in the face of collective responses to terror and other enormous threats, real or perceived. In the face of narratives treating both technological change and security measures as either desired or inexorable, claims that privacy stands as a right outside of history, grounded in nature or divine authority, are not likely to prove persuasive or effective.

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Human Rights in the 'War on Terror'
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