Reading Challenge. Week 6: Why Democracy Needs Privacy by Carissa Veliz


Reading Challenge. Week 6: Why Democracy Needs Privacy by Carissa Veliz

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Privacy is a concept, a value, and a right that is hugely important but its meaning and significance is fraught and widely contested. As we share more and more of our personal information and data for the benefits of public safety, personal conveniences, and connectivity, we need to, now more than ever, ask ourselves: what does privacy mean and why does it matter?

The power that privacy grants us is necessary for democracy—for us to vote according to our beliefs and without undue pressure, for us to protest anonymously without fear of repercussions, to have freedom to associate and speak our minds.

Privacy is Power author and Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Carissa Véliz’s work focuses on privacy, technology, moral and political philosophy, and public policy. As an upcoming and an extraordinarily cogent voice in the field, her pieces are essential to anybody wishing to develop a better understanding of the complex and urgent questions about our privacy. In them, Véliz explores the implications of our current attitudes toward data and privacy and sets out how and why we should take back control.

In this week’s challenge, we are reading Véliz’s article for the Boston Review ‘Why Democracy Needs Privacy.’ In it, she asks whether or not democracy needs privacy and questions whether democracy is worth saving at all. At a time where democracies around the world are increasingly pressured and our data continuously exploited against the best interests of the citizenry, this piece is a hopeful reminder that we can reclaim our privacy — and through it our power.


Additional resources:


Carissa Veliz’s Writing:

Privacy is Power:; Available for a free download through the WEDF 2021 Digital Gift Bag* 

Carissa Veliz’s WEDF 2021 Keynote: Accessible to ticket holders and members through the WEDF 2021 platform*

*For access to this along with other books, WEDF 2021 talks and sessions, networking lounges and more, please see the WEDF Membership page.

Join the crucial discussion, challenge your friends with the #WEDFReadingChallenge & #Privacy2Me and get the chance to win a free WEDF Membership:

(1) Complete this week’s reading!

(2) Share your participation on social media with a post saying:

I'm joining the #WEDFReadingChallenge. This week we're reading Why Democracy Needs Privacy by @CarissaVeliz + what privacy means to you and why it matters!

(3) Tag & challenge a friend to take part!

To raise awareness of the importance of privacy and the consequences of surveillance among individuals from diverse backgrounds, WEDF is also running the #Privacy2Me campaign. Join us and help us spread the word by letting us know "what privacy means to you and why it matters" with the hashtag #Privacy2Me.