Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Privacy, speech, and values: what we have no business knowing

Original Paper
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Abstract

In the United States the ascendancy of speech protection is due to an expansive and unjustified view of the value or primacy of free expression and access to information. This is perhaps understandable, given that privacy has been understood as a mere interest, whereas speech rights have been seen as more fundamental. I have argued elsewhere that the “mere interest” view of privacy is false. Privacy, properly defined, is a necessary condition for human well-being or flourishing. The opening section of this article will provide an overview of this theory. Next, after a few remarks on speech absolutism, privacy absolutism, and balancing theories, I will sketch several of the dominant argument strands that have been offered in support of presumptively weighty speech rights. While these arguments, taken together, establish that free speech is important, they do not support the view that speech should nearly always trump privacy. In final section I will present and defend a way to balance free speech and privacy claims.

Keywords

Privacy Freedom of speech Freedom of expression Privacy rights Value of privacy Definition of privacy Speech absolutism Speech balancing Privacy absolutists Value of speech 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information SchoolUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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