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Introduction

  • Mike SheaffEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

At a time of declining public trust in power-holders, wider concerns exist over both intrusions into personal privacy and excessive secrecy by those in authority. While privacy is frequently viewed positively, secrecy can generate suspicions of scandal or corruption. One difficulty is that concepts sometimes perceived as a binary divide—secrecy versus transparency or public versus private—possess more permeable and contested boundaries. The introductory chapter sets these issues in a context of organisational failures, using two examples involving child deaths to illustrate media and political approaches to framing responsibility. Referring to UK law on data protection and freedom of information, this introduction sets the scene for later chapters, introducing parallel tensions between privacy and transparency, and between personal responsibility and system failure.

Keywords

Trust Responsibility Accountability Blame 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, Criminology & GovernmentUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK

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