Privacy is one of the topics I wanted to write about from the beginning. For years the concept of privacy and how it works in various situations has always fascinated me. Privacy is such a delicate issue in the world of today that privacy scandals can bring down and damage corporations and governments. Think of the N.S.A. and News of the World.
First things first though, to define the concept of privacy there has to be more context. Privacy is a matter of an individual and the environment. When I think of a simple description of for this concept I think of not public, non-sharing and personal information. In short the concept of privacy in life depends on your environment of family, friends, colleagues, living conditions, living standards, society at large, the definition of private space, the definition of public space, laws, regulations and the government.
Privacy is a complex issue. You can only be as private your environment allows you to be. So what about the environment? The environment each individual has is both chosen and given. Chosen means that you pick your own friends, acquaintances, jobs and where you live. Given means that you are born in a country with given laws, regulations, a society and systems for housing, connections and other aspects of life.
What is less complex is what we consume and make part of our lives. The first thing you consume is your citizenship. I am Dutch therefore I am part of the Dutch society, the government systems and I use certain facilities and spaces. Secondly there are the organisations, groups and individuals I consider as part of my life. Thirdly there are the communication media we use to communicate with others.
In the early 2000s I discovered the internet. Before I knew it, I had different accounts everywhere. Now in 2014 I have even more accounts and I switch between them on a daily basis. Before I discovered the internet I experienced real privacy. These days I have to ignore my computer and phone to have some notion of privacy.
For what it is worth the little privacy there still is, is valuable. The idea of “Big Brother” as Orwell describes it in 1984 is uncomfortable and yes I have something to hide. Some moments in life are moments that you keep to yourself and those close to you. Not everything has to be public.