Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Paul Hurley

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2021 Sevion DaCosta


The most popular conception of the right to privacy stems from Warren and Brandeis’s description of privacy as “the right to be left alone.” This theory ultimately points to a more fundamental approach to the right to privacy rooted in property rights. This fundamental approach - which I call privacy-as-property - is what I establish in this paper. I argue that the Lockean concept of property that “every man has a property in his own person” provides the foundation for the right to privacy. Privacy-as-property begins with the fundamental right to control oneself. Because of this intrinsic right, your property right over yourself extends to your external property, including your cloud data. Since you control yourself, you cannot tacitly consent to giving your privacy away. Therefore, privacy-as-property, rejects the Lockean tacit consent argument. If one is not truly provided the freedom of choice to accept a set of agreements, then their right is not upheld. With this conception of privacy and the innate right to control oneself, when you select “agree” to use a third-party application, you do not tacitly consent to forego your right to privacy. This conception of privacy is then applied to help explain past SCOTUS cases, the implicit right to privacy in the Constitution, and regulatory changes. Privacy-as-property will eventually be codified in the law but there is a current market share, one that focuses on privacy that can be gained. Therefore, businesses will effectively alter their practices to align with privacy-as-property, before regulatory changes mandate it.