AFFIRMATIVE-SOLVENCY-INFORMATION OWNERSHIP PROPERTY RIGHT 24
PROPERTY REGULATION DOES NOT MEAN CHEAPENING PRIVACY BY PUTTING IT ON SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
A PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHT WOULD NOT PUT PRIVACY ON SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
James Rule & Lawrence Hunter, Prof. of Sociology at SUNY-Stony Brook & Computer Scientist at (U.S.) National Library of Medicine, "Toward Property Rights in Personal Data," VISIONS OF PRIVACY: Policy Choices for the Digital Age, 1999, EE2001 -JGM P. 177
Most privacy advocates, we find, are intrigued by the notion of a right like this. At the same time, some are concerned about any innovation that might appear to facilitate or condone commercialization of personal data. In its extreme form, this attitude pictures establishment of property rights of the kind proposed here as tantamount to an invitation to auction privacy interests to the highest bidder.
These reactions reflect a superficial take on what we propose. The first thing to note about the right envisaged here is that its establishment would leave no American worse off with respect to appropriation of his or her data than is the case today. It is not our intention to extend the Possibility of commercial appropriation of personal information to any setting where it does not now exist. Instead, we aim to create a simple, forceful principle to check the endless erosion Of control over such data to commercial interests where no such checks are now in place. It is undoubtedly true that some forms of personal data should never be commercially marketed - data on children, for example. This proposal leaves the matter open as to what those data should be; our purpose here is simply to fashion tools for protecting those forms of data that are deemed legal for commercial use.
THE ARGUMENT THAT PRIVACY IS NOT FOR SALE IS FALSE
James Rule & Lawrence Hunter, Prof. of Sociology at SUNY-Stony Brook & Computer Scientist at (U.S.) National Library of Medicine, "Toward Property Rights in Personal Data," VISIONS OF PRIVACY: Policy Choices for the Digital Age, 1999, EE2001 -JGM P. 177-8
For some privacy activists, such insistences may not suffice. 'Privacy is a fundamental human right,' one critic noted, 'and is not subject to sale.' The person quoted here went on to point out that not all forms of personal contracts are legal in the Western legal and political tradition. One may not legally sell one's self into slavery, for example, or exchange sex for money.
But the analogy of these cases to privacy protection does not withstand examination. Preserving the right of freedom of expression, or the right to not testify against one's self, does not require that everyone speak out on public issues or that no accused person ever take the stand on his or her own behalf. These important rights, like so many others, serve to preserve for individuals the option to make meaningful choices - the option to express one's opinion or no opinion, or to decide to testify on one's own behalf, or not to do so. So, too, with the treatment of personal information. Privacy advocates, and civil libertarians more generally, ought to seek principles and arrangements aimed at providing every citizen maximum meaningful discretion over his or her data. This means the right to disclose, as well as the right to withhold.