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Privacy: To hide, or not to hide

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posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 10:29 AM
Hello all,

I would like to get the thoughts of the forum on the matter of Privacy because this is a very current affair.

From what I see, there are two camps to this debate. Those that feel that they "have nothing to hide" and thus privacy is of no concern and then there are those that deem living in pubic as a breach of their rights (whether they have anything to hide or not).

I would like to draw on a few quotes and concepts here and get your opinions.

The Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, recently came out and remarked the below, which is the main part that I wish to be seen debated between the two camps.

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
- Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Do you agree with this statement?

Stowe Boyd is attempting to coin a new term (however, later in the article admits it is not his), "publicy", as being relative to our current society and the description is as follows:

The idea of publicy is no more than this: rather than concealing things, and limiting access to those explicitly invited, tools based on publicy default to things being open and with open access.
- Stowe Boyd

However, it appears that others have used this term before him, Wikipedia - Publicy.

Laurent Haug stated:

Now that you are back in the driver seat, you have your privacy back. Just of a different kind. You have built a space that could be called “publicy”, or “the plausible me”. It is a credible space where people expect to see information about you. Whatever credible information you say in there will be taken as true by the world.

That is your new privacy. A space that is public but that you control, where you can say anything you want and have it taken as true.
- Laurent Haug


Are you happy to live in public?

A key mover and shaker in this debate is likely to be Facebook which has recently come out and mentioned that the privacy defaults have changed. Facebook used to be very pro-privacy where only those trusted people (your friends list) could see your profile ... however, now the default is to be that anyone can see your profile and you have to edit this setting to enforce your privacy.

Zuckerberg, a couple of years back, took the following stance in regard to users privacy:

Unless you have specific tools to limit who can see it [your photos and data], then you won't share it with anyone.


Now, however, to summarise a recent interview with Zuckerberg his stance is that the world is changing and is now more public and less private and his controversial default settings simply reflect the society in which we now live.

I am personally not on Facebook but is it true that 350million people on Facebook are wanting to throw their privacy out the window - and if Facebook believes they are, have they even consulted them?

Who is pushing this privacy evolution? Facebook or its userbase? It goes further though, who is pushing this privacy evolution? Corporations or the public?

Howard Lindzon drew upon the Corporations when he stated that privacy died a long time ago:

Equifax, Transunion, Capital One, American Express and their cousins raped our privacy and Facebook is a long overdue new competitor in a new age of what I would call ‘User Controlled Privacy’. If we are lazy, Facebook could be really big and powerful and we will be very aggravated with them.


Do we only have ourselves to blame for this shift in social dynamics towards a life in the public? Where do you stand?

After all, an individual raindrop does not consider itself responsible for the flood ...

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 10:59 AM
I myself am a very un-private person. I interact with people and am very bad with keeping secrets.
However, I understand that some people are not so, and respect their right to privacy, and I think all people should be able to have the same respect.

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by george_gaz

Privacy: To hide, or not to hide

First of all, a desire for privacy is not about hiding. It IS about not caring to share your life and all its many details with your neighbors or the government.

I am a very big fan of privacy. Not because I am doing anything wrong, but because what I am doing is none of anyone's business.

As far as... if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't mind the intrusions?

In 1777, a notice was published that said... (not a quote), If you are a loyal subject to the King, you will not protest quartering His soldiers and His horses on your land and in your home.

It was never about hiding anything. It has always been about the right to keep your own space as you choose to.

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 11:38 AM
reply to post by george_gaz

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know,
maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Do you agree with this statement?

Not as phrased, but I think there is a useful lesson in here. I would have said "If you have something you don't want anyone to know, it's probably not the best idea to spread it out over the internet where billions of people might find out about it."

I acknowledge the validity of privacy, but I think people will be better served by understanding that the internet is not a private, personal space. If you take a picture and keep it on your nightstand, it's reasonable to expect that nobody other than family, friends and guests will see it. If you make a few hundred million photocopies of the picture and start passing them out to total strangers in stacks of a hundred thousand, it's foolish to expect the picture to remain "private."

People need to understand that the internet is the second scenario, not the first.

If there's something you really don't want people to see, don't put it on the internet. These people who put photos and "private" personal information on facebook and get angry when people find out about it...they're living in a delusion.

That is your new privacy. A space that is public but that you control,
where you can say anything you want and have it taken as true.

Are you happy to live in public?

I believe I would be happy to live in a world where people accepted the presentations of others as fact. Imagine being able to look at someone and say "I'm a tall, handsome millionnaire." And they beleived you. Imagine being able to look at someone and say "I'm a thin, beautiful sexy girl." And they believed you.

That would be a very interesting world. I think I would like it, and I think a lot of others would too. Being able to be and be perceived as anything you want simply by controlling your presentation...that would be powerful and beautiful.

his stance is that the world is changing and
is now more public and less private

That's true. For example, ladies: any time you flash your chest at a club, you are accepting that your breasts may be captured by camera phones and end up in your husbands and fathers email the following day. Gentlemen, if you're caught taking pictures of underaged girls, you may end up on a list such that anyone within a hundred miles of you can go to a website and see your name and address and be given a map to your home. That is the world we live in today. It's not just the internet. The technlogy to capture thoughts, ideas, sound, pictures and video and instantly make them available to every human being on the entire planet is readily available to pretty much everyone.

Life will be more gentle to people able to accept that.

Do we only have ourselves to blame for this shift in social
dynamics towards a life in the public?

I think there are a variety of factors at work. Some are selfish corporate interests, and some are simple consequence of the increasing availabiity of technology. It may not be all that much longer before anyone with $100 to spare can purchase devices that will read your mind and broadcast your thoughts across the internet just as easily as your picture. When that happens, will it make any sense to ask who to "blame" for shifting social dynamics?

Where do you stand?

I accept the process as inevitable. I simply intend that it be gentle, and that we learn to adapt as easily as possible. There is nothing "evil" about a lack of privacy. The only "evil" is it being imposed by external forces that intend to use the lack of privacy to their advantage and our detriment. I disapprove of airport scanners. But if $100 mind reading devices became available to anyone who wanted one, I think that would be a good thing.

Why? Because we would learn to accept one another.

Or die.

I vote the former.

[edit on 12-1-2010 by LordBucket]

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 11:51 AM
Well I'm more than happy to share stuff with people, but I don't like information being demanded by law. And I take steps to avoid it.
Of course it is probably a futile protest as I will still be on a zillion databases. But in my ideal world - and I know the practicalities would make it impossible - I would be totally anonymous.

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 12:25 PM
Just a remark here, but:

If anyone has privacy issues, I don't think they should Facebook.
Or myspace or twitter.

As far as having something that no one should know and shouldn't be doing it...

I slightly agree. If your doing something wrong, then you wouldn't want anyone to know about it. BECAUSE ITS WRONG!


posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 01:21 PM
To those who think privacy doesn't matter send me you bank account numbers. Put your money where your mouth is or shut the heck up.

posted on Jan, 13 2010 @ 03:48 AM
Hi all,

Some good responses that offer food for thought here.

A major concern of mine is that this is a slippery slope towards a truly Orwellian world but an Orwellian world that we have stood by and welcomed.

When we allow corporations such as Facebook to change our privacy settings to a "public" setting and stand by and allow companies to share our information we are sliding down that slope.

When we hit the bottom we are going to find that we have allowed everyone access to our information, such as governments who are already wiretapping us illegally and this will give them free run.

Companies, offering us adverts via mail, phone, email even knocking on our doors no doubt with targeted advertising because they purchased your name, address, interests, phone itinerary, Internet history from a third party company of a third party company of the government.

I am a believer that agencies are already profiling people based upon their life in the public.

Does anyone have any examples of when innocent people with nothing to hide feel the effects of privacy invasion?

I will start off with a comment on a blog:

"As a person who is being stalked for being an innocent bystander in a child custody case, I can tell you that losing my choices over what is searchable or not is huge. I have nothing to hide nor be ashamed of but the loss of choice for my privacy has hit home in a poignant manner."

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