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Surveillance and the Political Value of Privacy


Benjamin J. Goold

University of Oxford; Somerville College, GB
About Benjamin J.
Dr Benjamin J Goold is a Lecturer in Law and Fellow and Tutor. He is also a member of the Oxford Centre for Criminology.
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The steady expansion in the use of surveillance technologies by the state and private sector represents a substantial threat to the privacy of ordinary individuals. Yet despite the best efforts of civil libertarians, many members of the public still struggle to understand why privacy is valuable and deserves to be protected as a basic right. In part, this is a result of the inherent complexity of the idea of privacy, but it is also due a tendency on the part of privacy advocates to focus on the individual - as opposed to the social and political dimensions - of privacy. In order to ensure that there is a greater level of public engagement with matters of privacy and sufficient awareness of the dangers of intrusive surveillance, more must be done to ensure that the general public appreciates that privacy is not just essential for individual freedom, but also for the health of society as a whole.

How to Cite: Goold, B.J., 2009. Surveillance and the Political Value of Privacy. Amsterdam Law Forum, 1(4), pp.3–6. DOI:
Published on 30 Aug 2009.


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