Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 109–119 | Cite as

Four challenges for a theory of informational privacy

  • Luciano FloridiEmail author


In this article, I summarise the ontological theory of informational privacy (an approach based on information ethics) and then discuss four types of interesting challenges confronting any theory of informational privacy: (1) parochial ontologies and non-Western approaches to informational privacy; (2) individualism and the anthropology of informational privacy; (3) the scope and limits of informational privacy; and (4) public, passive and active informational privacy. I argue that the ontological theory of informational privacy can cope with such challenges fairly successfully. In the conclusion, I discuss some of the work that lies ahead.


information ethics informational privacy ontology passive privacy personal identity public privacy 


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This paper is a fully revised version of a presentation given at the international workshop “Bridging Cultures: Computer Ethics, Culture, and ICT”, organised by the Programme for Applied Ethics in association with the Globalisation programme at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, June 6th–7th 2005). For that opportunity and for the feedback received, I wish to thank Charles Ess and May Thorseth (co-organisers), Eric Monteiro, Knut Rolland, Johnny Søraker, Bernd Carsten Stahl, Deborah Wheeler and all the students who took part to the workshop, and, for the financial support, NTNU. Charles Ess shared with me some important insights while discussing the final draft, and I hope I managed to take full advantage of his suggestions. As usual, all remaining mistakes are unfortunately mine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze FilosoficheUniversità degli Studi di BariBariItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Information Ethics Group, OUCLUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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