Perspectives on privacy

In my presentation I will focus philosophically on the question how we should assess the importance of privacy within the current privacy debate. Recently there has been much attention to the different, far-reaching ways in which our privacy is being invaded. It is commonly referred to as a 'threat to our privacy'. However, this raises the question what exactly is being threatened - and many different claims are made in an attempt to address this, ranging from the importance of consumer control to political notions like freedom and democracy. There seems to be a lack of words to describe what is at stake, and a lack of consensus to defend it properly. This is highly problematic for both privacy activists and ordinary citizens.

I will focus on the following questions: what is privacy and how do we refer to it? Is privacy a "right", a private or public "interest" or can we understand it as a new kind of currency (commodification of our personal data)? And what do these different notions mean for the way we perceive the 'threat'? Furthermore, I will compare the different notions of privacy and what these differences mean in the defense of our privacy. In other words: what could be a proper way to claim our right to privacy?

Laurine Blonk presented and published her philosophical bachelor thesis on the topic of privacy as 'top level' undergraduate research at the Student Research Conference 2015 (

She has work experience as a lecturer in philosophy and "levensbeschouwing" and also as a research assistant.

Currently she is pursuing a masters degree in both Humanistic Studies (University for Humanistic Studies, Utrecht) and Philosophy (Erasmus University Rotterdam). She is a member of the NLLGG.

Length: 25:02
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Recorded on 2016-11-12 at T-DOSE
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