The Virtues of Knowing Less: Justifying Privacy Protections Against Disclosure

Daniel J. Solove
2003 Social Science Research Network  
This Article develops justifications for protections against the disclosure of private information. An extensive body of scholarship has attacked such protections as anathema to the Information Age, where the free flow of information is championed as a fundamental value. This Article responds to two general critiques of disclosure protections: (1) that they inhibit freedom of speech, and (2) that they restrict information useful for judging others. Regarding the free speech critique, the
more » ... argues that not all speech is of equal value; speech of private concern is less valuable than speech of public concern. The difficulty, however, is distinguishing between public and private concerns. Traditional approaches include deferring to the media, distinguishing between public and private figures, and looking to the nature of the information disclosed. However, these approaches are flawed. Instead, we should focus on the relationships in which information is transferred and the uses to which information is put. The propriety of disclosures depends upon their purpose, not merely on the type of
doi:10.2139/ssrn.440200 fatcat:zll5yue7lvaqnj3mz4qocrgncy