Privacy: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198725947

Raymond Wacks
176 ページ
144 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions
  • Examines our need for privacy and why it is valued so highly, as well as what constitutes an invasion of privacy
  • Considers the issues of privacy and security, privacy and the paparazzi, and the protection of personal data
  • Discusses the importance of privacy in debates about law and ethics
  • Puts privacy in its wider social context by including examples of its sociological and psychological impact
  • Raymond Wacks is an expert on the legal protection of privacy and how this protection varies in different countries

New to this Edition:

  • Updated to discuss the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, one of the most comprehensive investigations into the ethics and practice of the media, with a section devoted to privacy and media intrusion
  • Examines the extent of surveillance by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) in light of the revelations by Edward Snowden, and highlights a number of issues related to the balance between security and privacy
  • Offers up-to-date discussion of PETS (privacy enhancing technology) and encryption
  • Addresses continuing questions surrounding privacy on Facebook, Twitter, Google's increase in monitoring online activity, the growing use of CCTV, hacking, identity theft, and the advent of Big Data
  • Includes updates related to recent changes in Europe with regards the protection given to individuals by the European Convention on Human Rights

Some would argue that scarcely a day passes without a new assault on our privacy. In the wake of the whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of surveillance conducted by the security services in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere, concerns about individual privacy have significantly increased. The Internet generates risks, unimagined even twenty years ago, to the security and integrity of information in all its forms. 

The manner in which information is collected, stored, exchanged, and used has changed forever; and with it, the character of the threats to individual privacy. The scale of accessible private data generated by the phenomenal growth of blogs, social media, and other contrivances of our information age pose disturbing threats to our privacy. And the hunger for gossip continues to fuel sensationalist media that frequently degrade the notion of a private domain to which we reasonably lay claim.

In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks looks at all aspects of privacy to include numerous recent changes, and considers how this fundamental value might be reconciled with competing interests such as security and freedom of expression.

"Although physically small, this is a dense book stuffed with facts and arguments. It is to be read slowly and with consideration. And perhaps a degree of worry that Privacy is still so badly defined and addressed by legislation." - Concatenation, Peter Tyres

"[T]here is, to our knowledge, no more erudite and persuasive an advocate for protecting privacy than Raymond Wacks. If you ever find yourself in a debate on privacy versus free speech, this is the succinct yet thoroughly researched source of some very effective arguments in favour of privacy." - Philip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers


1: Privacy in peril
2: An enduring value
3: A legal right
4: Privacy and freedom of expression
5: Data protection
6: The death of privacy?
Further reading


Raymond Wacks, Emeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory
Raymond Wacks is a leading international authority on privacy. For almost four decades he has published numerous books and articles on the subject including The Protection of Privacy (Sweet & Maxwell, 1980); Personal Information: Privacy and the Law, (OUP, 1989); Privacy, a two-volume collection of essays (Dartmouth and New York University Press, 1993), Privacy and Press Freedom (Blackstone, 1995), and Privacy and Media Freedom (OUP, 2013). He has served on and advised privacy law reform commissions in a number of countries, and is a member of the editorial boards of several privacy-related journals and non-governmental organizations. He has also published numerous books and articles on various aspects of law, including Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory 3rd edn (OUP, 2012), Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction 2nd edn (OUP, 2014), and Law: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2008).