Children of a Lesser God? The Vividown Case and Privacy on the Internet

Revista da Faculdade de Direito UFPR 64 (2):141-169 (2019)
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In the wake of high profile and recent events of blatant privacy violations, which also raise issues of democratic accountability as well as, at least potentially, undermining the legitimacy of current local and international governance arrangements, a rethinking of the justification of the right to privacy is proposed. In this paper, the case of the violation of the privacy of a bullied autistic youngster and the consequent prosecution of 3 Google executives will be discussed first. We will then analyse the arguments made by both academic experts and pundits who agree with Google’s claim that if the first sentence had been left unchallenged, it would have opened the floodgates to several other jurisdictions that would as a consequence have used it as a pretext to increase control on the internet, jeopardising in such a way free speech, which has been seen so far as an inalienable right which should not be censored. Finally, by going beyond the sentences and their immediate contexts, we will propose a theoretical justification of our analysis. Our main claim is that the value of the right to privacy is based on the argument that its violation would undermine citizens’ capacity to participate effectively in democratic politics.

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Gianluca Andresani
University of Aberdeen


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