What Is Privacy?
Recently Seth Godin said that it wasn’t that we wanted privacy exactly, Â as much as it is that we don’t want to be surprised. We don’t want to be taken unawares when we discover where our information is or who has access to it.
Dave Fleet disagreed, saying that it wasn’t privacy OR surprise – it was control. What we want is the ability to say who gets to see what.
I actually disagree with both of them.
I think they’re splitting hairs. I DO care about privacy – because, to me, privacy is about both knowledge and control.
Think of it in concrete terms. If I care about privacy in my backyard, I want to know that my backyard is mine and I have both control over who comes in, and knowledge of who can see in. If I find out strangers are milling around my backyard, I’ll feel that my privacy’s been breached. Similarly, if I find out my neighbor has been peering over the fence with binoculars, I’ll feel that my privacy’s been compromised.
What about you? Is this what privacy means to you?