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A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology by Vincent F. Hendricks, Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis

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Topics in Computer Ethics

Privacy

Privacy is a topic that has received much attention in computer ethics from early on. Information technology is often used to record, store and transmit personal information, and it may happen that this information is accessed or used by third parties without the consent of the corresponding persons, thus violating their privacy. Privacy is the right of persons to control access to their personal affairs, such as their body, thoughts, private places, private conduct, and personal information about themselves. The most attention in computer ethics has gone to information privacy, which is the right to control the disclosure of personal data. Information technology can easily be used to violate this right.

Privacy issues play, amongst others, on the Internet, where cookies, spyware, browser-tracking and access to the records of Internet providers may be used to study the Internet behavior of individuals or to get access to their PCs. Privacy issues also play in the construction of databases with personal information by corporations and government organizations, and the merging of such databases to create complex records about persons or to find matches across databases. Other topics of major concern include the privacy implications of video surveillance and biometric technologies, and the ethics of medical privacy and privacy at work. It has also been studied whether people have a legitimate expectation to privacy in public areas or whether they ...

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