This introduction, to an issue on privacy as a social issue and behavioral concept, discusses what privacy is, by examining definitions and theories of privacy, and what privacy does, by reviewing the benefits of obtaining privacy and the costs of failing to achieve and of losing privacy. It provides a possible bridge between social psychological and social issues approaches to privacy and examines privacy as a social issue for Americans as citizens, health-care recipients, consumers, and employees. It then briefly explores behavioral aspects of privacy, including indicators of privacy's importance and the generally overlooked status of privacy in psychology.
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