The problem with Privacy

The problem with ‘privacy’ is that no one can settle on a universal definition; perhaps because everyone is chasing the wrong kind of definition?

The problem for privacy is that so many are trying to find a way to engineer it out of their equations. Trying to define privacy either to constrain it, or to write it off entirely. It is treated like an unwelcome guest, or a bothersome interloper, or worse – an impediment to ‘progress’ or ‘innovation’, where personal profit is substituted for everything else.

In contrast ‘security’, is generally understood to be a good thing, or at least necessary.

Privacy often cast as – treated as – an impediment to security: “you’re hiding something you don’t want me to see” or “if I can’t see what you’re doing, I can’t see what ‘the bad guys’ are doing”. (“please make my job ‘easier’, i don’t care about you anyway”)

Privacy is a social experience. Wishing it away doesn’t work. Designing social tools that exclude or constrain it might.


I am rebooting this blog, having left it dormant for some time.

I plan to use this space to develop my writing – and my thinking – on a number of issues at the intersection of law, public policy, and technology.

I expect to throw together a series of commentaries and critiques in the weeks and months ahead. I will be fleshing out a research proposal for a PhD (or SJD). I will also be sketching out academic articles and media commentaries for potential publication.

Let’s see where this takes us.

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