What is the 'personal' in 'personal information'?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Contemporary privacy theories and European discussions about data protection employ the notion of ‘personal information’ to designate their areas of concern. The notion of personal information is demarcated from non-personal information—or just information—indicating that we are dealing with a specific kind of information. However, within privacy scholarship the notion of personal information appears undertheorized, rendering the concept somewhat unclear. We argue that in an age of datafication, protection of personal information and privacy is crucial, making the understanding of what is meant by ‘personal information’ more important than ever. To contribute to this aim, we analyse the conception of personal information and its nature, including the distinction between personal and non-personal information from a philosophy of language perspective. Through analyses of aboutness and relative aboutness we point to challenges related to the demarcation between personal and non-personal information, which may in practice lead to all information being personal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthics and Information Technology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)625-633
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 271599396