Timothy Casey


The value of deviance lies in highlighting the infirmity in our present concept of privacy. Deviance helps explain privacy in two ways. First, deviance helps define what might be protected by “privacy concerns.” Second, a sociological definition of deviance provides a helpful model to rebut the popular “Nothing to Hide” argument and to understand a non-binary concept of contextual privacy. This article uses a sociological definition of deviance to explain a contextual idea of privacy, where the critical inquiry is not a dualistic response to whether sensitive information deserves protection as private or not, but rather a contextual analysis of the disclosure of information that includes the type of information, to whom disclosure was made, by whom, for what purpose, and to what potential detriment. A deeper understanding of deviance brings us to the realization that we shape our identities through a contextual disclosure of our differences, and that personal control over those disclosures is a value worthy of protection.

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