A Taxonomy of Privacy (Solove, 2005)

In 2005, legal scholar Daniel J. Solove published A Taxonomy of Privacy. For my own purposes I made a mindmap of his taxonomy and list below the descriptions of the distinct privacy violations.

Categorized under information dissemination activity:

  • breach of confidentiality conveys “breaking a promise to keep a person’s information confidential”;  
  • disclosure conveys revealing (truthful) information that “impacts the way others judge [the] character [of the person involved]”;  
  • exposure conveys revealing “another’s nudity, grief, or bodily functions”;
  • increased accessibility conveys “amplifying the accessibility of information”;  
  • blackmail conveys the threat to disclose personal information unless the blackmailers demands are met;
  • appropriation conveys the use of the subject’s identity “to serve the aims and interests of another”;
  • distortion conveys the dissemination of “false or misleading information about individuals”.

Categorized under information processing activity:

  • aggregation conveys the combination of information about a person;
  • identification conveys linking information to specific persons;
  • insecurity conveys lack of due diligence protecting (stored) personal information from leaks and improper access;
  • secondary use conveys the re-use of information, without subject’s consent, for purposes different from the purpose for which it was originally collected;
  • exclusion conveys not allowing the subject to know or influence how their information is being used.

Categorized under information collection activity:

  • surveillance conveys “watching, listening to, or recording of an individual’s activities”;
  • interrogation conveys various forms of questioning or probing for information.

Categorized under invasions:  

  • intrusion conveys acts that “disturb one’s tranquility or solitude”;
  • decisional interference conveys “[governmental] incursion into the subject’s decisions regarding private affairs”.

Read Solove’s original paper (.pdf) before applying this taxonomy; there’s more substance to it than this short blogpost seeks to represent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *