Modern Privacy Advocacy: An Approach at War with Privacy Itself?

Modern Privacy Advocacy: An Approach at War with Privacy Itself?

Article By: Justin “Gus” Hurwitz & Jamil N. Jaffer

47 PEPP. L. REV. 955 (2020)

This Article argues that the modern concept of privacy itself, particularly as framed by some of its most ardent advocates today, is fundamentally incoherent. The Article highlights that many common arguments made in support of privacy, while initially seeming to protect this critical value, nonetheless undermine it in the longrun. Using both recent and older examples of applying classic privacy advocacy positions to key technological innovations, the authors demonstrate how these positions, while seemingly privacy-enhancing at the time, actually resulted in outcomes that were less beneficial for consumers and citizens, including from a purely privacy-focused perspective. As a result, the authors advocate for a privacy approach that focuses on the long-term results of particular proposals rather than the immediate results in a given circumstance.

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