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Privacy and Philosophy

New Media and Affective Protocol


Andrew McStay

What can philosophy tell us about privacy? Quite a lot as it turns out. With Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol Andrew McStay draws on an array of philosophers to offer a refreshingly novel approach to privacy matters. Against the backdrop and scrutiny of Arendt, Aristotle, Bentham, Brentano, Deleuze, Engels, Heidegger, Hume, Husserl, James, Kant, Latour, Locke, Marx, Mill, Plato, Rorty, Ryle, Sartre, Skinner, Spinoza, Whitehead and Wittgenstein, among others, McStay advances a wealth of new ideas and terminology, from affective breaches to zombie media. Theorizing privacy as an affective principle of interaction between human and non-human actors, McStay progresses to make unique arguments on transparency, the publicness of subjectivity, our contemporary techno-social condition and the nature of empathic media in an age of intentional machines.
Reconstructing our most basic assumptions about privacy, this book is a must-read for theoreticians, empirical analysts, students, those contributing to policy and anyone interested in the steering philosophical ideas that inform their own orientation and thinking about privacy.
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← 166 | 167 → Notes


1.  We might also recognize the domestic abuse of men in the private domain. Data from the Home Office and British Crime Survey show that men comprise 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004–05 and 2008–09 (see Home Office, 2011).

2.  I know there are key approaches missed but if you would like to contact me with suggestions and sources, please feel free to do so, or send me your own work that uses philosophy as a means of broaching privacy (I would very much like to read it).

1.  Plato is not explicit on what else the newlyweds might be doing, but the women responsible for informing ‘should report to her colleagues any wife or husband of childbearing age she has seen who is concerned with anything but the duties imposed on him or her at the time of the sacrifices and rites of their marriage’ (2004 [360 BC]: 222 §6.784b).

2.  In particular his disclosure about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM operation that collects information from emails, online chat, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, notifications on target activity, social networking details and other special requests that might be made to internet companies.

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