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This article is part of the Topical collection on Privacy and Security of Medical Information
Privacy matters because everyone needs some portion of their intimate space - whether it is their bodies, their families and relationships, their property or information about them - to remain hidden and secure from unwanted or unexpected external interferences. Privacy is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other hard-fought freedoms like free speech and non-discrimination on grounds of sex, race, sexual orientation and political and religious beliefs. This universal truism is being questioned in an age where humans are submitting large quantities of traces of themselves, increasingly unwittingly, and as a by-product or condition of their participation in digital life. However, as participation in digital society and the economy becomes all-pervasive, and in effect compulsory, privacy cannot become the preserve of those who can afford it. As memories of the man-made cataclysms of the twentieth century recede, there has never been a greater need for safeguards against unjustified intrusions into people’s personal space by powerful state actors and corporations. Convergence between political malevolence and technological omnipotence is a ‘real and present‘ danger. This article summarises the case for privacy and emerging legal principles such as accountability and individual control over data about them. It argues for a Global Friends of Privacy comprising willing regulators, academics and civil society to patrol more vigilantly and to contest more forcefully attempts to ‘salami-slice’ away precious liberties of populations.
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- Privacy matters: updating human rights for the digital society
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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