The Philosopher's Eye

News and brain candy for the philosophy community

Does Tiger Woods have a right to privacy in public?

As we have all heard and read about this week, the world number one golf player has got himself into an unpleasant scandal about carrying on multiple affairs. After the scandal was released worldwide by the press, he made a public statement asking for ”the right to some simple, human measure of privacy”.
In this article in The New York Times, the editors raised a debate about the philosophical foundations of a right to privacy. Nonetheless, the right to privacy is a right already unequivocally established. The real question here would be more like: is there a right to privacy in public? And to that question the answer is not at all clear.
The problem of the existence or not of a right to privacy in public affects not only famous people, but everyone in our society. The issue can be illustrated with the case of CCTV in England – where its use is abundant. What happens in England is that the citizens feel a lack of privacy when behaving in the public sphere, given that they are aware that in a great number of places their actions are being recorded by the government.
CCTV is supposed to be a way of providing security to citizens, but some argue the consequences go far beyond this goal. It ends up being intrusive and affecting the way people behave in public spaces – creating an uncomfortable atmosphere and raising the question of the existence of a possible right to privacy in relation to what happens in public.
The issue is unresolved and the debate remains open. I guess Tiger will have to learn, the hard way, to keep his problems within his family boundaries…

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This entry was posted on December 5, 2009 by in Viewpoint and tagged , , .

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