Advertisement

Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 233–247 | Cite as

A practice–theoretical account of privacy

  • Wulf LohEmail author
Original paper

Abstract

This paper distinguishes between two main questions regarding the notion of privacy: “What is privacy?” and “Why do/should we value privacy?”. In developing a social-ontological recognitional model of privacy (SORM), it gives an answer to the first question. According to the SORM, Privacy is a second order quality of roles within social practices. It is a function of who is or should be recognized as a “standard authority”. Enjoying standard authority means to have the right to interpret and contest role behavior and role obligations within a specific practice (first level), as well as evaluate the normative structure, the fundamental practice norms as well as the roles and their status (second level). The SORM utilizes the concept of standard authority to explicate privacy with regard to two categories that capture the relevant phenomena of privacy: decisional and informational privacy. Within a practice, an actor is said to have decisional privacy if she as a BCR does not (or does not have to) recognize bearers of accidental roles as standard authorities. Vice versa, an actor is said to enjoy informational privacy if all other BCRs (and especially data collecting actors) recognize her as a standard authority. Additionally, the requirement of mutual recognition by the practice participants as standard authorities introduces a “weak normativity” into the theory, which can be used to identify deficient privacy arrangements within practices.

Keywords

Privacy Social ontology Recognition Practice theory Social pathologies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the “Be-Greifen” project (16SV7527).

References

  1. Applbaum, A. I. (1999). Ethics for Adversaries: The morality of roles in public and professional life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, A. (2016). Simplicity. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/simplicity/.
  3. Barth, A., Datta, A., Mitchell, J. C., & Nissenbaum, H. (2006). Privacy and contextual integrity: framework and applications. Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy,  https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2006.32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benn, S. (1984). Privacy, freedom, and respect for persons. In F. Schoeman (Ed.), Philosophical dimensions of privacy: An anthology (pp. 223–244). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2007). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1999). The weight of the world: Social suffering in contemporary society. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brandom, R. B. (1998). Making it explicit: Reasoning, representing and discursive commitment (2nd edn.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bridwell, S. (2007). The dimensions of locational privacy. In H. J. Miller (Ed.), Societies and cities in the age of instant access (pp. 209–225). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cavoukian, A., & Jones, J. (2014). Privacy by Design: From Rhetoric to Reality. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from https://www.ipc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/Resources/PbDBook-From-Rhetoric-to-Reality.pdf.
  12. Celikates, R. (2009). Kritik als soziale Praxis: Gesellschaftliche Selbstverständigung und kritische Theorie. Frankfurt/Main: Campus.Google Scholar
  13. DeCew, J. (1997). In pursuit of privacy: Law, ethics and the rise of technology. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Floridi, L. (2005). The ontological interpretation of informational privacy. Ethics and Information Technology, 7, 185–200  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-006-0001-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Floridi, L. (2006). Four challenges for a theory of informational privacy. Ethics and Information Technology, 8, 109–119.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-006-9121-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Floridi, L. (2013). The ethics of information. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Floridi, L. (2014). The 4th revolution: How the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Freyenhagen, F. (2015). Honneth on social pathologies: A critique. Critical Horizons, 16(2), 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fried, C. (1984). Privacy: A moral analysis. In F. Schoeman (Ed.), Philosophical dimensions of privacy: An anthology (pp. 203–222). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  22. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  23. Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action. Cambridge: Polity; Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  24. Habermas, J. (1995). Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  25. Hardimon, M. (1994). Role Obligations. The Journal of Philosophy, 91(7), 333–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hart, H. L. A. (1994). The concept of law (2nd edn.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hartzog, W., & Stutzman, F. (2013). Obscurity by design. Washington Law Review, 88, 385–418.Google Scholar
  28. Hillebrandt, F. (2014). Soziologische Praxistheorien: Eine Einführung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Honneth, A. (1996). Pathologies of the social: The past and present of social philosophy. In D. M. Rasmussen (Ed.), Handbook of critical theory (pp. 369–398). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Honneth, A. (2014a). Die Krankheiten der Gesellschaft: Annäherung an einen nahezu unmöglichen Begriff. WestEnd - Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung 11(1), 45–60.Google Scholar
  31. Honneth, A. (2014b). Freedom’s right: The social foundations of democratic life (New directions in critical theory). New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Houlgate, S. (2008). G.W.F. Hegel - Outlines of the Philosophy of Right. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jaeggi, R. (2014). Kritik von Lebensformen. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  34. Kaye, J., Whitley, E. A., Lund, D., Morrison, M., Teare, H., & Melham, K. (2015). Dynamic consent: a patient interface for twenty-first century research networks. European Journal of Human Genetics, 23, 141–146 (2015).  https://doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2014.71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Korsgaard, C. (1983). Two distinctions in goodness. The Philosophical Review, 92, 169 (1983).  https://doi.org/10.2307/2184924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Loh, W. (2017). Literaturwissenschaft als Sozialkritik. In A. Albrecht, M. Schramm & T. Venzl (Eds.), Literatur und Anerkennung: Wechselwirkungen und Perspektiven (pp. 159–184). Berlin: LIT.Google Scholar
  37. MacIntyre, A. (1985). After virtue: A study in moral theory (2nd edn.). London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  38. Mont, M., Pearson, S., & Bramhall, P. (2003). Towards accountable management of identity and privacy: Sticky policies and enforceable tracing services. In Prague, 01.09.2003 (pp. 377–382): IEEE Comput. Soc.  https://doi.org/10.1109/DEXA.2003.1232051.
  39. Moor, J. (1997). Towards a theory of privacy in the information age. Computers and Society, 27(3), 27–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nissenbaum, H. (1998). Protecting privacy in an information age: The problem of privacy in public. Law and Philosophy, 17, 559–596.Google Scholar
  41. Nissenbaum, H. (2004). Privacy as contextual integrity. Washington Law Review, 79(1), 119–158.Google Scholar
  42. Nissenbaum, H. (2010). Privacy in context: Technology, policy, and the integrity of social life. Stanford: Stanford Law Books.Google Scholar
  43. Parent, W. (1983). Privacy, morality, and the law. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 12(4).Google Scholar
  44. Parsons, C. (2015). Beyond privacy: Articulating the broader harms of pervasive mass surveillance. Media and Communication, 3, 1  https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v3i3.263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Parsons, T. (1949). The structure of social action: A study in social theory with special references to a group of recent european writers (2nd edn.). Glencoe: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  46. Patton, J. (2000). Protecting privacy in public? Surveillance technologies and the value of public places. Ethics and Information Technology, 2, 181–187.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010057606781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rachels, J. (1984). Why privacy is important. In F. Schoeman (Ed.), Philosophical dimensions of privacy: An anthology (pp. 290–299). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rawls, J. (2003). The law of peoples: With “The idea of public reason revisited” (5th edn.). Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  49. Raz, J. (1986). The morality of freedom (Clarendon paperbacks). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  50. Raz, J. (1999). Practical reason and norms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reckwitz, A. (2003). Grundelemente einer Theorie sozialer Praktiken: Eine sozialtheoretische Perspektive. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 32(4), 282–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reckwitz, A. (2008). Praktiken und Diskurse: Eine sozialtheoretische und methodologische Relation. In H. Kalthoff, S. Hirschauer & G. Lindemann (Eds.), Theoretische Empirie: Zur Relevanz qualitativer Forschung (pp. 188–209). Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  53. Regan, P. (1995). Legislating privacy: Technology, social values, and public policy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  54. Roessler, B. (2005). The value of privacy. Cambridge: Polity Press.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  55. Roessler, B. (2015). Should personal data be a tradable good? On the moral limits of markets in privacy. In B. Roessler & D. Mokrosinska (Eds.), Social dimensions of privacy: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 141–161). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Roessler, B. (2016). Wie wir uns regieren. WestEnd(01), 103–118.Google Scholar
  57. Roessler, B., & Mokrosinska, D. (2013). Privacy and social interaction. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 39, 771–791 (2013).  https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453713494968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Roessler, B., & Mokrosinska, D. (2015). Introduction. In B. Roessler & D. Mokrosinska (Eds.), Social dimensions of privacy: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 1–9). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schaar, P. (2010). Privacy by Design. Identity in the Information Society, 3, 267–274 (2010).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12394-010-0055-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schachter, M. (2003). Informational and decisional privacy. Durham N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
  61. Schatzki, T. R. (1996). Social practices: A wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The site of the social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Schmidt, R. (2012). Soziologie der Praktiken: Konzeptionelle Studien und empirische Analysen. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  64. Searle, J. R. (2008). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language (30th edn.). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  65. Shampanier, K., Mazar, N., & Ariely, D. (2007). Zero as a special price: The true value of free products. Marketing Science, 26, 742–757 (2007).  https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1060.0254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Solove, D. J. (2008). Understanding privacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Stahl, T. (2013). Immanente Kritik: Elemente einer Theorie sozialer Praktiken. Frankfurt/Main: Campus.Google Scholar
  68. Stahl, T. (2014). The Conditions of Collectivity: Joint Commitment and the Shared Norms of Membership. In A. Konzelmann, Ziv & H. B. Schmid (Eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology. Studies in the Philosophy of Sociality (vol. 2, pp. 229–244). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Stahl, T. (2016). Indiscriminate mass surveillance and the public sphere. Ethics and Information Technology, 18, 33–39.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-016-9392-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sun, Y., Zhang, J., Xiong, Y., & Zhu, G. (2014). Data security and privacy in cloud computing. International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, 10, 190903.  https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/190903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tavani, H. (2007). Philosophical theories of privacy: Implications for an adequate online privacy policy. Metaphilosophy, 38, 1–22.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.2006.00474.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Tene, O., & Polonetsky, J. (2013). Big data for all: Privacy and user control in the age of analytics. Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, 11(5), 239–273.Google Scholar
  73. Torra, V. (2017). Data privacy: Foundations, new developments and the big data challenge. Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Ulbricht, M., & Weber, K. (2017). Adieu Einwilligung?: Neue Herausforderungen für die informationelle Selbstbestimmung im Angesicht von Big Data-Technologien. In M. Friedewald, J. Lamla, & A. Roßnagel (Eds.), Informationelle Selbstbestimmung Im Digitalen Wandel (pp. 265–286): Vieweg + Teubner, Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Westin, A. F. (1967). Privacy and freedom. New Jork: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  76. Wittgenstein, L. (1998). Philosophical investigations (2nd edn.). Oxford: Blackwell.zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

Personalised recommendations