Privacy rights can surely be waived. But can they also be forfeited? If so, why and under what conditions? This article takes up these questions by developing a novel theory of privacy rights forfeiture that draws inspiration from Judith Thomson’s canonical work on privacy. The paper identifies two species of forfeiture rooted in modes of negligent and reckless conduct and argues that both self-directed and other-regarding considerations play a role in grounding forfeiture. The paper also contributes to the literature by proposing a new taxonomy of how Hohfeldian entitlements can be divested generally. It likewise engages at length with a recent article by Benedict Rumbold and James Wilson in which the authors criticize Thomson’s work and appear to reject the very idea of privacy forfeiture. In response, I make the case that Rumbold and Wilson’s forfeiture-free model of privacy is unconvincing on substantive moral grounds.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.