Privacy in the Cyberspace: Threats and Prospects
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This paper deals with the topic of privacy in the cyberspace. It answers the question: What is the situation regarding privacy in the cyberspace and what new threats privacy faces in the cyberspace? It starts with the specification of privacy and analyses the new situation the development of information technologies has put us in. Our environment has changed and privacy is affected. The article continues with the analysis of the threats to privacy emanating from the new environment. The threats include violation of autonomy, lack of freedom and free decisions, insecurity, information asymmetries, blackmailing, vulnerability, physical and mental suffering, financial and other losses, harms to reputation, etc. Further, the paper identifies how privacy is threatened by new technologies and technological inventions. To illustrate possible impacts of information technologies on society, three dystopian visions are presented, namely Orwell’s depiction from the novels Nineteen Eighty-Four, Kafka’s The Trial, and Huxley’s Brave New World. They present three deterrent examples of social reactions to the options provided by the new information technologies. The first one is unfriendly totality, the second one consists in nontransparent society, and the third one in voluntary surrender of privacy. To evaluate current situation, the legal regulation of privacy in EU and USA is summarized.
KeywordsPrivacy Information technology Knowledge democracy Autonomy
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