E-book of the week: “Privacy as Virtue: Moving Beyond the Individual in the Age of Big Data”, by Bart van der Sloot

Privacy as Virtue discusses whether a rights-based approach to privacy regulation still suffices to address the challenges triggered by new data processing techniques such as Big Data and mass surveillance. A rights-based approach generally grants subjective rights to individuals to protect their personal interests. However, large-scale data processing techniques often transcend the individual and their interests.

Virtue ethics is used to reflect on this problem and open up new ways of thinking. A virtuous agent not only respects the rights and interests of others, but also has a broader duty to act in the most careful, just and temperate way. This applies to citizens, to companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook and to governmental organizations that are involved with large scale data processing alike.

The author develops a three-layered model for privacy regulation in the Big Data era. The first layer consists of minimum obligations that are independent of individual interests and rights. Virtuous agents have to respect the procedural pre-conditions for the exercise of power. The second layer echoes the current paradigm, the respect for individual rights and interests. While the third layer is the obligation of aspiration: a virtuous agent designs the data process in such a way that human flourishing, equality and individual freedom are promoted.”

https://doi.org/10.1017/9781780686592

Publisher: Intersentia, 2017

Illustration (cropped): Allegory of Virtue, by Antonio da Corregio (c. 1531), public domain, via Wikipedia

Film of the week: “The Lives of Others”, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

“The horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don’t always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more…”

132 mns, 2007
Call number: 943 LIV