Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 87–95 | Cite as

Inaccuracy as a privacy-enhancing tool

Original Paper

Abstract

The accuracy principle is one of the key standards of informational privacy. It epitomises the obligation for those processing personal data to keep their records accurate and up-to-date, with the aim of protecting individuals from unfair decisions. Currently, however, different practices being put in place in order to enhance the protection of individuals appear to deliberately rely on the use of ‘inaccurate’ personal information. This article explores such practices and tries to assess their potential for privacy protection, giving particular attention to their legal implications and to related ethical issues. Ultimately, it suggests that the use of ‘inaccurate’ data can potentially play a useful role to preserve the informational autonomy of the individual, and that any understandings of privacy or personal data protection that would tend to unduly limit such potential should be critically questioned.

Keywords

Data protection Informational privacy Informational self-determination Privacy Surveillance 

Abbreviations

ECHR

European convention of human rights and fundamental freedoms

EU

European Union

OECD

Organization for economic co-operation and development

PETS

Privacy enhancing technologies

US

United States

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for European Studies (IES), Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS)Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselBelgium

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