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Privacy and the Information Age (Critical Media Studies

In a time in which new technologies make it easy to gather and process data, the discussion on privacy tends to focus exclusively on the protecting of personal data. Serge Gutwirth believes that privacy involves far more and he advances the thesis that privacy is in fact the safeguard of personal freedom - the safeguard of the individual's freedom to decide who she or he is, what she or he does, and who knows about it. Any restriction on privacy thus means an infringement of personal freedom.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Privacy's Complexities Chapter 3 The Law on Privacy Chapter 4 Ambiguous Privacy Chapter 5 Privacy Endangered Chapter 6 Privacy and the Processing of Personal Data Chapter 7 Conclusion Chapter 8 Appendix: The European Community Directive on Personal Data Chapter 9 Bibliography Chapter 10 Index

About the Author

Serge Gutwirth is professor of law at the Free University of Brussels and the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The Rathenau Institute, the Dutch national technology assessment organization, is an independent organization and is one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Serge Gutwirth impressively draws on Dutch, German, French, and English language sources to develop a strong argument regarding the centrality of privacy to personal freedom and the challenges to that sacred connection posed by new, and increasingly omniscient, information technologies. A most welcome addition to the comparative literature on privacy and technology. -- Gary T. Marx, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; author of Windows Into the Soul: Surveillance and Society in an Age of High Technology

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