Wealth of privacy theories

Having initially chosen privacy in the context of library & information services for my PhD research, it wasn’t until I started to read more widely around the topic that I began to realise just how complex and wide-ranging the concept of privacy really is.

A good starting point for understanding the meaning of privacy are the key texts by Warren & Brandeis (1890), Prosser (1960),and Westin (1967).

In all my reading on the topic I have probably considered about 60+ different privacy theories. There’s certainly no shortage of them. Below I have picked out some of them. In some cases they shed light on privacy from the perspective of the individual, the group, and society; in the case of Neil Richards, I have picked that one because it is highly relevant to the information profession; and I have chosen others because they give a different or interesting perspective on privacy.

Anita Allen – unpopular privacy

Neil Richards – intellectual privacy

Irwin Altman – social interaction theory

Sandra Petronio – communication privacy management theory

Dinev & Hart – privacy calculus theory

Kahneman and Tversky – prospect theory

J. D. Elhai – anxiety model

Rogers – Protection motivation theory

Jeremy Bentham – panopticon

Edward Bloustein – individualistic theory

John Dewey – relationship between individual and society

Michel Foucault – surveillance (using panopticon metaphor)

Woodrow Hartzog – obscurity

Lawrence Lessig – code as law

Jens Erik Mai – datafication

Helen Nissenbaum – contextual integrity

S. C. Rickless – barrier theory

Luke Stark – emotional context of information privacy

Warren & Brandeis – right to be let alone

Dwork – differential privacy

Judith Wagner – cluster concept of privacy

Rachels-Fried theory on intimacy

 Icek Ajzen – theory of planned behaviour