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Privacy, Rights and Moral Value
By: Dr. Steven Davis

University of Ottawa Law and Technlogy Journal (forthcoming)

OVERVIEW: Rights come in many different kinds: legal, moral, human, natural, and civil. I shall take it that the two main categories of rights are legal and moral and the other rights fall into one or another of these two categories. In Canada, there appears to be at least a partial legal right to privacy with respect to personal information held by the government. I shall return to this. The question I wish to raise is whether there is also a moral right to privacy. I shall not attempt to answer this question, which is too much to hope to accomplish in such a talk. Rather I shall try to set the framework for a discussion of the issue. I shall begin with one view about the general nature of rights and the status of privacy as a legal right in Canada. I shall then move on to a brief discussion of the nature of privacy. Finally, I shall close with some remarks about whether privacy has moral value.

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