Privacy vs. Technology: What privacy rights do we have and how can we protect these rights?

  • Jamie Day

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis seeks to explain what privacy rights we have and how we can protect them, given the recent advances in technology, most notably the growth in the use of the interest. Following an introductory chapter which discussing the effects of technology on privacy. Chapter Two sets out an interest theory of rights according to which certain fundamental interests (equality, respect/dignity, autonomy, liberty and welfare) are taken to be sufficiently important to ground rights. Chapter Three considers the nature of our privacy interests of personal data and personal unobservability and how these might be affected by technology. Chapter Four focuses on personal data and argues that, under certain conditions, we should recognise a right to personal data otherwise our fundamental interests will be set back. Chapter Five makes a similar point about personal unobservability, adding that personal unobservability is the unifying element in accounts of privacy which stress such interests in the protection of personal space, the development of personal relationships, and the expression of one’s self-identity. Chapter Six concludes how best to protect privacy rights, arguing that it is crucial to give individuals control over their personal data and personal unobservability, and seeks to clarify the kind of control that is relevant. Chapter Seven examines the regulation of privacy, considering what sort of exemptions to privacy rights there should be, how the ‘defaults’ of control should be set, and how control should be operationalised in multi-person cases. Chapter Eight looks ahead to areas for further research.
Date of AwardJul 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorTom Walker (Supervisor) & Fabian Schuppert (Supervisor)

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