A socialised conceptualisation of individual privacy: a theoretical and empirical study of the notion of the ‘public’ in UK MoPI cases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


This article conceptualises a more public, more socialised notion of privacy in contrast to the archetype: that my privacy is of interest and value only to me. Doing so has historically left claims to privacy exposed against claims to free speech, with its long pedigree and generally acknowledged wider instrumental role. This article provides a corrective. The first part offers a typology of rationales at one of two meta-levels: privacy as a means to effect assurance or as a means to protect someone's activities. The second discusses the results of some small-scale empirical doctrinal research: a sample analysis of 27 UK privacy cases looking to identify the judicial ascription of the value of privacy, specifically whether any judges conceptualise privacy as having a more social, or public, value or utility. The results are perhaps not unexpected. Almost exclusively, judges frame their rationales for protecting privacy in purely individualised terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-131
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Media Law
Issue number1
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Privacy
  • freedom of expression
  • public interest
  • MOPI
  • misuse of private information
  • ultimate balancing test
  • socialised conceptualisation of privacy

Cite this