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From Privacy To Personal Autonomy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses definitions of privacy philosophically and at the Council of Europe before examining the concept of personal autonomy and its critiques. The legal right upon which the right to autonomy, identity and integrity of the person rests is the right to respect ones private life. Privacy is often described as a fundamental human right, a basic right of every human being, yet it is notoriously difficult to define and there is little consistency in the usage of the word. David Feldman has noted: [l]inking privacy with philosophical notions of autonomy, self-fulfilment, and self-expression has made privacy interests relevant to freedom of action and life-style not merely to freedom from interference. This expansion has been fostered, in the context of the ECHR, by the fact that Article 8(1) is drafted in terms of respect for private life, rather than privacy.

Keywords: David Feldman; ECHR; personal autonomy; personal identity; personal integrity; privacy; the Council of Europe



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