Privacy Protection: A Tale of Two Cultures

Subhajit Basu

Abstract

The paper provides a novel and critical analysis of privacy as an instrumental notion within social and cultural contexts. The argument suggests there is much utility in a novel multiple-perspective approach to the study of privacy in a socio-legal context. It questions our assumptions about privacy by looking to a differing privacy culture - that of the India. It examines the Indian perception of privacy based on India's cultural values and offers an explanation for why India's concept of privacy is beyond the often dominated public-private dichotomy and why it has implicitly or explicitly affected the agenda for privacy theory by placing some issues in the limelight while leaving others backstage. The importance of the argument is due to its critical assessment of the current European approach (from the EC, ECJ and ECHR) where privacy is regarded as an inalienable right with a concrete psychological foundation. I argue that privacy interests are far more extensive and deeper than the European definition which can at best capture only some of the issues which require elucidation when we litigate over privacy.

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