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Relational Privacy and the Right to be Forgotten

Laura Kane, Worcester State University

April 18 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Room 9205

The Center for Global Ethics and Politics is excited to welcome philosopher Laura Kane as our fifth and final colloquium speaker of Spring 2023. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A with the speaker.

This is an in-person event that will allow for virtual participation via Zoom. The in-person talk will be followed by a reception with wine and snacks.

In person: the event will take place at the CUNY Graduate Center, Room 9205.

Virtually: please register to participate via Zoom (linked here).



right to be forgotten is a legal framework that is recognized, in varying degrees, in the European Union, Argentina, India, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, but not in the United States. I suggest that the most significant obstacle to the adoption of this legal framework in the United States involves a framing problem: leading arguments that promote this right frame its significance in terms of the instrumental goods that individuals may gain through it, including identity management and reputation protection, that justify curtailing some First Amendment protections. However, by focusing only on individual instrumental harms, these arguments do not engage with broader cultural harms that are brought about by a culture of surveillance. A culture of surveillance renders moot the very idea of an expectation of privacy because individuals are no longer merely the targets of surveillance, but are active participants in it. I argue that we must frame the significance of a right to be forgotten around the goods we value for the more “common and ordinary circumstances” that we find ourselves in every day: the ability to create and maintain the variety of relationships that we want to have with others. This re-framing project involves expanding the privacy values we find worthy of protection to include relational privacy values.


Speaker Bio

Laura W. Kane is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Worcester State University and a faculty fellow for the Clemente Course in the Humanities (Worcester branch). Her research examines social phenomena such as families, states, and social media networks through a feminist lens. Specifically, she examines the many relationships that we have in social, political, and digital contexts to identify both relational goods and responsibilities that we owe to one another. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Applied PhilosophyThe Journal of Social PhilosophyHypatia, and Public Affairs Quarterly.


April 18
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


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