Reading Summary of Privacy

Monica. Liu March 1, 2013 Reading Summary: “Privacy” by Deborah G. Johnson This article is written by Deborah G. Johnson, on page 204-214, the author mainly talks about the following points: First, in the first part, the author thinks that once people begin to have interest in using the information of individual, privacy will exist. It points out that those who want information about individuals want it because they believe that it will help them to make better decisions and serve their customers better.

Such views heavily distort in gathering and exchange of information, so people should make a more powerful case for protecting and ensuring privacy in the lives of individuals so that people will not feel uncomfortable about the amount of information that is gathered about them. Secondly, the author states privacy as an individual good in Personal Privacy part, which distinct privacy as an instrumental good and privacy as an intrinsic good. In Reframing the Computers and Privacy Issue-Privacy as a Social Good part, it states privacy as a social good.

In this part, it mentions two terms of autonomy and democracy. Once people lose the control of information about themselves, their autonomy will be reduced. And democracy is a kind of idea that citizens have the freedom to exercise autonomy. When privacy is as a social good, it is more important than efficiency and better consumer services. Thirdly, this article presents the importance of individual controlling and relationship establishing.

The author considers individual controlling will effect on establishing a relationship with that individual and determining the character of the relationship, at the same time, it will influence the diversity of relationship. Once people lose control of information, it will reduce their ability to establish and influence the relationships they have and the character of those relationships. Finally, it points out several possible counterarguments: privacy only protects people who have something to hide; individuals in our society do have some power to control their relationships with private and public organizations.

This article examines the issue from the perspective of business ethics on privacy in an effort to understand the unique privacy context of computer-based survey research. I agree with the author that reframing privacy as a social good is very important. As an important social good, privacy would be on part with other social goods such as law enforcement or government efficiency. Instead of a social good outweighing an individual good, it would be clear that we have two social goods at stake.

In reframing the issue in this way, privacy would be more likely to be treated as equally important, if not more important, than other social goods. In such way, people can live in a democratic society with autonomy. Meanwhile, we should have a standard to control our privacy to others, because privacy is the fundamental pre-condition to establish relationship with others. If you keep your privacy seriously, you will be isolated by the society. On the contrary, if you lose the control of your private information, you won’t set up relationships with others either.

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