What Is ‘Privacy’: a Professor’s Taxonomy

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Mike Masnick over at Techdirt, who had a kind word for my first post about “nothing to hide,” draws my attention to a short scholarly essay on the subject by GW Law School’s Daniel Solove. By way of rebutting the claim that we don’t need privacy if we do no wrong, Solove lays out what he calls a taxonomy of the many issues involved:

Information Collection

  • Surveillance
  • Interrogation

Information Processing

  • Aggregation
  • Identification
  • Insecurity
  • Secondary Use
  • Exclusion

Information Dissemination

  • Breach of Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Exposure
  • Increased Accessibility
  • Blackmail
  • Appropriation
  • Distortion


  • Intrusion
  • Decisional Interference

Well worth the 15 minute read.

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