The Oxford Institute for Ethics in AI: Privacy Is Power
Carissa Véliz (Oxford University, Oxford University), John Tasioulas

October 1, 2020, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

This event is online

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Associate Professor Carissa Véliz will be accompanied by Sir Michael Tugendhat and Dr Stephanie Hare in a conversation about privacy, power, and democracy, and the event will be chaired by Professor John Tasioulas (inaugural Director for the Institute for Ethics and AI, and Professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford).


Privacy Is Power argues that people should protect their privacy because privacy is a kind of power. If we give too much of our data to corporations, the wealthy will rule. If we give too much personal data to governments, we risk sliding into authoritarianism. For democracy to be strong, the bulk of power needs to be with the citizenry, and whoever has the data will have the power. Privacy is not a personal preference; it is a political concern. Personal data is a toxic asset, and should be regulated as if it were a toxic substance, similar to asbestos. The trade in personal data has to end.


Dr Carissa Véliz is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute for Ethics in AI, and a Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy at Hertford College. Carissa completed her DPhil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. She was then a Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford. To find out more about Carissa’s work, visit her website:

Sir Michael Tugendhat was a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales from 2003 to 2014 after being a barrister from 1970. From 2010 to 2014 he was the Judge in charge of the Queen’s Bench Division media and civil lists. He was Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Leicester (2013-16) and is a trustee of JUSTICE. His publications include Liberty Intact: Human Rights in English Law: Human Rights in English Law (Oxford University Press 2017) and Fighting for Freedom? (Bright Blue 2017), The Law of Privacy and Media (Oxford University Press 1st edn 2002).

Dr Stephanie Hare is an independent researcher and broadcaster focused on technology, politics and history. Previously she worked as a Principal Director at Accenture Research, a strategist at Palantir, a Senior Analyst at Oxford Analytica, the Alistair Horne Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, and a consultant at Accenture. She holds a PhD and MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences (French) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work can be found at 

Professor John Tasioulas is the inaugural Director for the Institute for Ethics and AI, and Professor of Ethics and Legal Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford. Professor Tasioulas was at The Dickson Poon School of Law, Kings College London, from 2014, as the inaugural Chair of Politics, Philosophy & Law and Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law. He has degrees in Law and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a D.Phil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He was previously a Lecturer in Jurisprudence at the University of Glasgow, and Reader in Moral and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he taught from 1998-2010. He has also acted as a consultant on human rights for the World Bank.

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