Hyman Gross suggested that, without privacy—solitude, anonymity, and temporary releases from social roles—individuals would be unable to freely express themselves and to engage in self-discovery and self-criticism.
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In a way analogous to how the personhood theory imagines privacy as some essential part of being an individual, the intimacy theory imagines privacy to be an essential part of the way that humans have strengthened or intimate relationships with other humans. James Rachels advanced this notion by writing that privacy matters because "there is a close connection between our ability to control who has access to us and to information about us, and our ability to create and maintain different sorts of social relationships with different people.
Physical privacy could be defined as preventing "intrusions into one's physical space or solitude.
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Fourth Amendment , which guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures". There may also be concerns about safety, if for example one is wary of becoming the victim of crime or stalking. Organizations may seek legal protection for their secrets. For example, a government administration may be able to invoke executive privilege  or declare certain information to be classified , or a corporation might attempt to protect valuable proprietary information as trade secrets.
Privacy has historical roots in philosophical discussions, the most well-known being Aristotle's distinction between two spheres of life: the public sphere of the polis , associated with political life, and the private sphere of the oikos , associated with domestic life. As technology has advanced, the way in which privacy is protected and violated has changed with it.
In the case of some technologies, such as the printing press or the Internet , the increased ability to share information can lead to new ways in which privacy can be breached. It is generally agreed that the first publication advocating privacy in the United States was the article by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis , " The Right to Privacy ",  , that was written largely in response to the increase in newspapers and photographs made possible by printing technologies.
New technologies can also create new ways to gather private information. For example, in the United States it was thought that heat sensors intended to be used to find marijuana-growing operations would be acceptable. However, in in Kyllo v. United States U. The Internet has brought new concerns about privacy in an age where computers can permanently store records of everything: "where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever", writes law professor and author Jeffrey Rosen.
This currently has an effect on employment. Microsoft reports that 75 percent of U. They also report that 70 percent of U. This has created a need by many to control various online privacy settings in addition to controlling their online reputations, both of which have led to legal suits against various sites and employers. The ability to do online inquiries about individuals has expanded dramatically over the last decade. Facebook for example, as of August , was the largest social-networking site, with nearly 1, million members, who upload over 4.
Over Twitter has more than million registered users and over 20 million are fake users. The Library of Congress recently announced that it will be acquiring—and permanently storing—the entire archive of public Twitter posts since , reports Rosen.
Importantly, directly observed behaviour, such as browsing logs, search queries, or contents of the Facebook profile can be automatically processed to infer secondary information about an individual, such as sexual orientation, political and religious views, race, substance use, intelligence, and personality. According to some experts, many commonly used communication devices may be mapping every move of their users.
Senator Al Franken has noted the seriousness of iPhones and iPads having the ability to record and store users' locations in unencrypted files,  although Apple denied doing so.
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Andrew Grove , co-founder and former CEO of Intel Corporation , offered his thoughts on internet privacy in an interview published in May . Privacy is one of the biggest problems in this new electronic age. At the heart of the Internet culture is a force that wants to find out everything about you. And once it has found out everything about you and two hundred million others, that's a very valuable asset, and people will be tempted to trade and do commerce with that asset.
This wasn't the information that people were thinking of when they called this the information age. As with other concepts about privacy, there are various ways to discuss what kinds of processes or actions remove, challenge, lessen, or attack privacy. In legal scholar William Prosser created the following list of activities which can be remedied with privacy protection:  . Building from this and other historical precedents, Daniel J. Solove presented another classification of actions which are harmful to privacy, including collection of information which is already somewhat public, processing of information, sharing information, and invading personal space to get private information.
In the context of harming privacy, information collection means gathering whatever information can be obtained by doing something to obtain it. It can happen that privacy is not harmed when information is available, but that the harm can come when that information is collected as a set then processed in a way that the collective reporting of pieces of information encroaches on privacy. Information dissemination is an attack on privacy when information which was shared in confidence is shared or threatened to be shared in a way that harms the subject of the information.
There are various examples of this. Invasion of privacy, a subset of expectation of privacy , is a different concept from the collecting, aggregating, and disseminating information because those three are a misuse of available data, whereas invasion is an attack on the right of individuals to keep personal secrets. An intrusion is any unwanted entry into a person's private personal space and solitude for any reason, regardless of whether data is taken during that breach of space.
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Privacy uses the theory of natural rights, and generally responds to new information and communication technologies. In North America, Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. This citation was a response to recent technological developments, such as photography, and sensationalist journalism, also known as yellow journalism. In recent years there have been only few attempts to clearly and precisely define a "right to privacy.
By their reasoning, existing laws relating to privacy in general should be sufficient. The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.
David Flaherty believes networked computer databases pose threats to privacy. He develops 'data protection' as an aspect of privacy, which involves "the collection, use, and dissemination of personal information". This concept forms the foundation for fair information practices used by governments globally. Flaherty forwards an idea of privacy as information control, "[i]ndividuals want to be left alone and to exercise some control over how information about them is used".
Richard Posner and Lawrence Lessig focus on the economic aspects of personal information control. Posner criticizes privacy for concealing information, which reduces market efficiency. For Posner, employment is selling oneself in the labour market, which he believes is like selling a product. Any 'defect' in the 'product' that is not reported is fraud. Lessig claims "the protection of privacy would be stronger if people conceived of the right as a property right", and that "individuals should be able to control information about themselves".
There have been attempts to establish privacy as one of the fundamental human rights , whose social value is an essential component in the functioning of democratic societies. This requires a shared moral culture for establishing social order.
He claims that privacy laws only increase government surveillance by weakening informal social controls. Etzioni notes that corporate data miners, or " Privacy Merchants ," stand to profit by selling massive dossiers personal information, including purchasing decisions and Internet traffic, to the highest bidder. And while some might not find collection of private information objectionable when it is only used commercially by the private sector, the information these corporations amass and process is also available to the government, so that it is no longer possible to protect privacy by only curbing the State.
Priscilla Regan believes that individual concepts of privacy have failed philosophically and in policy. She supports a social value of privacy with three dimensions: shared perceptions, public values, and collective components. Shared ideas about privacy allows freedom of conscience and diversity in thought.
Public values guarantee democratic participation, including freedoms of speech and association, and limits government power. Collective elements describe privacy as collective good that cannot be divided. Regan's goal is to strengthen privacy claims in policy making: "if we did recognize the collective or public-good value of privacy, as well as the common and public value of privacy, those advocating privacy protections would have a stronger basis upon which to argue for its protection".
Leslie Regan Shade argues that the human right to privacy is necessary for meaningful democratic participation, and ensures human dignity and autonomy. Privacy depends on norms for how information is distributed, and if this is appropriate. Violations of privacy depend on context. The human right to privacy has precedent in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights : "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Most countries give citizen rights to privacy in their constitutions. Beyond national privacy laws, there are international privacy agreements. In the s people began to consider how changes in technology were bringing changes in the concept of privacy.