Privacy in Public Space
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Privacy in Public Space

Conceptual and Regulatory Challenges

Edited by Tjerk Timan, Bryce C. Newell and Bert-Jaap Koops

This book examines privacy in public space from both legal and regulatory perspectives. With on-going technological innovations such as mobile cameras, WiFi tracking, drones and augmented reality, aspects of citizens’ lives are increasingly vulnerable to intrusion. The contributions describe contemporary challenges to achieving privacy and anonymity in physical public space, at a time when legal protection remains limited compared to ‘private’ space. To address this problem, the book clearly shows why privacy in public space needs defending. Different ways of conceptualizing and shaping such protection are explored, for example through ‘privacy bubbles’, obfuscation and surveillance transparency, as well as revising the assumptions underlying current privacy laws.
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Chapter 4: A politico-economic perspective on privacy in public spaces

Karsten Mause


Starting at least with Adam Smith’s seminal book The Wealth of Nations (1776), there is a long tradition of politico-economic research investigating to what extent the state should intervene in the economy and other spheres of society. This chapter explores what ‘political economy’ as an interdisciplinary research program at the intersection of political science and economics can contribute to the debate on the governance issue of how to protect individuals’ privacy in public spaces. Following similar examinations of other phenomena in the existing politico-economic literature on the proper role of government, tools and insights from the toolkit of political economy are used to examine to what extent it is necessary for the state to secure individuals’ privacy in public spaces. Or, put differently, the authors take a market-liberal perspective in order to analyze to what extent individuals themselves are able to protect their privacy in public spaces.

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