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Privacy, Contingency, Identity, and the Group

Privacy, Contingency, Identity, and the Group
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Author(s): Soraj Hongladarom (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 16
Source title: Handbook of Research on Technoethics
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Rebecca Adell (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-022-6.ch032

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Abstract

The chapter argues that there is a way to justify privacy without relying on the metaphysical assumption of an independently existing self or person, which is normally taken to underlie personal identity. The topic of privacy is an important one in technoethics because advances in science and technology today have resulted in threats to privacy. I propose furthermore that privacy is a contingent matter, and that this conception is more convenient in helping us understand the complex issues surrounding deliberating thoughtfully about privacy in many dimensions. It is the very contingency of privacy that makes it malleable enough to serve our purposes. Basically, the argument is that it is possible for there to be a society where individuals there do not have any privacy at all, but they are still autonomous moral agents. This argument has some close affinities with the Buddhist perspective, though in this chapter I do not intend to presuppose it. Then I discuss the issue of group privacy. This is a rather neglected issue in the literature, but group privacy has become more important now that contemporary genomics and bioinformatics have the power to manipulate large amount of population data, which could lead to discrimination. The proposed conception of privacy is more suitable for justifying group privacy than the one that presupposes the inherently existing individual.

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