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Privacy Expectations at Work: What is Reasonable and Why?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy.
2009 (English)In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, E-ISSN 1572-8447, Vol. 12, no 2, 201-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Throughout the longstanding debate on privacy, the concept has been framed in various ways. Most often it has been discussed as an area within which individuals rightfully may expect to be left alone and in terms of certain data that they should be entitled to control. The sphere in which individuals should be granted freedom from intrusion has typically been equated with the indisputably private domestic sphere. Privacy claims in the semi-public area of work have not been sufficiently investigated. In this article, the case is made that employees have reasonable expectations on privacy at work. Firstly, in a descriptive analysis, employees' need for workspace privacy is spelt out. Secondly, a normative analysis explicates the reasons why privacy should be protected. The main thrust is to provide a more inclusive privacy concept and hence, a more adequate basis for privacy protection legislation and codes in the area of work. Contrary to prevailing workplace privacy protection, employees' need for local privacy should be accommodated as well as informational privacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 12, no 2, 201-215 p.
Keyword [en]
Autonomy, Employees, Ethics, Informational privacy, Local privacy, Privacy, Reasonable expectations of privacy, Workers' privacy, Workspace
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7913DOI: 10.1007/s10677-008-9129-3ISI: 000270838300007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-62949093582OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-7913DiVA: diva2:13084
Note
QC 20100902. Uppdaterad från manuskript till artikel (20100902). Tidigare titel: Expectations of Privacy at Work: What is reasonable and why?Available from: 2008-01-21 Created: 2008-01-21 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Ethics of Workspace Surveillance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Ethics of Workspace Surveillance
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The general framework of this thesis is that of ethical Technology Assessment (eTA). Whereas the first essay proposes an inclusive approach to technology assessment by delineating an ethical checklist, the following essays focus on two of the checklist points, i.e. “privacy” and “control, influence and power”, in relation to workspace surveillance.

The core idea of Essay I (written in collaboration with Sven Ove Hansson) is that, due to its strong social impact, new technology and novel use of existing technology should be considered from the perspective of ethics. We suggest that assessments should be conducted on the basis of nine crucial ethical aspects of technology.

In Essay II an in-depth analysis of the meaning and value of privacy in the realm of work is undertaken. The meaning and value of privacy is explained as well as why it should be protected. It is argued that two dimensions of privacy should be safeguarded; “informational privacy” and “local privacy” for the reason that workers’ personal autonomy is protected thereby.

Essay III is concerned with how workspace surveillance requires that job-applicants claim their privacy interests in employment negotiations to a much larger extent than what was previously the case. In most cases however, a dependency asymmetry between employer and job-candidate makes the latter ill-equipped for doing so. This asymmetry serves as the point of departure for an analysis of the conditions under which consent should be considered a criterion on moral acceptability with regard to employment contracting. The analysis suggests ways of rectifying this imbalance, raising demands on the quality of contractual consent.

Essay IV discusses the extent to which it should be morally permissible for current or prospective employees to trade off their privacy in employment negotiations. The analysis starts out from, and questions, a libertarian case for voluntary self-enslavement. It is concluded that not even an orthodox libertarian can justify trade offs of a social good like liberty. Neither should employees be allowed to abstain informational privacy for the reason that such a trade-off could harm their future selves.

In Essay V a dimensional analysis is proposed as a means to identify actually or potentially privacy invasive surveillance practices. It discusses ways in which different types of surveillance intrude upon employees’ privacy in order to guide the evaluation of such practice. Even though negative implications cannot be avoided altogether, by means of the proposed analysis, minimally intrusive means of monitoring can be identified.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. viii, 81 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831
Keyword
asymmetric relations, autonomy, consent, contract theory, contractualism, employment, ethical technology assessment, ethics, monitoring
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4611 (URN)978-91-7178-818-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-02-07, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100902Available from: 2008-01-21 Created: 2008-01-21 Last updated: 2010-09-02Bibliographically approved

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