Monday, October 10, 2022
Danielle Citron on "The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age"
To combat invasions of intimate privacy, we first need to recognize intimate privacy as a moral and legal right. Everyone deserves intimate privacy to create a life of meaning, respect, and love and to feel that they belong as citizens. In making this a civil right, lawmakers would show their appreciation of intimate privacy’s significance for individuals, groups, and society.* * *
Following the development of modern civil rights laws, a civil right to intimate privacy would combat privacy invasions amounting to invidious discrimination. It would limit or ban data practices that imperil the opportunities of women and marginalized communities because of their membership in protected groups. * * *
But a civil right to intimate privacy should not only be a right to combat invidious discrimination: It should also be a right to baseline protections for intimate privacy for everyone. As legal philosopher Robin West explains, civil rights should be understood—and protected—as “human or natural rights” that enable “our most fundamental human capabilities.” They are rights to something—entitlements that let us “thrive and be social,” feel like we belong, and engage as citizens. Civil rights deserve recognition and protection because they “secure the preconditions for a good life.” In the United States, civil rights protections have been operationalized through the interpretation of constitutional rights, the passage of state and federal laws, and the enforcement of existing laws that foreground those rights.