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Privacy is dead, get over it! Information privacy and the dream of a risk-free society

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The use of information and communications technology and the 'digitalisation' of everyday tasks has resulted in a paradigm shift where vast amounts of personal information about individuals, their opinions and habits is generated and stored in the databases of those providing online services. The mere existence of those data pools has created 'unwholesome' desires in both private and public organisations which cover that data for their own purposes. This article looks at the way in which the 'market value' of privacy seems to be falling as individuals are persuaded to disclose information about themselves in order to minimise real or perceived risks. It examines the way in which our perception of risk has changed in recent years and the way in which that perception may be manipulated. It analyses the link between risk perception, data processing and individual concepts of privacy as well as the dangers that increased privacy intrusion represents for the relationship between the individual and the state and the relationship between citizens.
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Keywords: data protection; information privacy; risk management; risk perception; social control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Law, Information & Converging Technologies, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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