My work on privacy was originally concerned with the problem of reconciling legal protections for privacy with women’s claims to sexual equality. This, in turn, led to the puzzle of why people in a democratic society would need legal protections for privacy if they already had democratic civil and political rights and liberties. My answers to these questions emphasised the importance of people’s political, as well as personal, interests in privacy and the ways in which legal protections for privacy can help to challenge undemocratic conceptions of politics and sexual oppression.

More recently, my research has focused on conflicts between privacy and security and between privacy and freedom of expression, and on the relationship between privacy and property rights. In June 2010 I presented ‘Privacy and the Publication of True Facts’ to a conference on privacy held at the University of Leeds.  It argues that people have stronger claims to privacy in true facts about themselves than is often realised and was motivated in part by the case of Max Mosley and the News of the World. I hope shortly to complete another paper on privacy, ‘Is Privacy Just Property in Disguise?’, which addresses Judith Thomson’s claims that privacy rights are just an arbitrary mishmash of rights to privacy, property and bodily integrity.

Both articles will be published independently but the ideas which animate them can be found in my book, On Privacy, which Routledge will publish will publish in 2011 as part of its Thinking in Action series. It will provide an accessible introduction to debates about the value of privacy and the merits of legal rights to privacy for a lay and scholarly audience. I have also just completed a paper on privacy and neuroethics, ‘We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Privacy, Democracy and Neuroethics’, which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2012 as part of a collection called I Know What You Are Thinking: Brain Imaging and Mental Privacy, edited by Sarah J. L. Edwards, Sarah Richmond and Geraint Rees.

Go to Publications on Privacy