Change impacting privacy

Have finally gotten around to reading ‘Privacy in Context‘ – Helen’s Nissenbaum‘s excellent treatise on privacy.

Privacy, invasion of privacy, attacks on privacy – never seems to be out of the news.  Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook theme seems to be that privacy is a thing of the past.  Much of the behaviour of people in social networks would tend to suggest that attitudes to privacy have changed greatly.

Helen Nissenbaum provides some to the background – what we mean by privacy, why it may be a good thing for the individual, why it may be a good thing for society.  And she considers the impact of changes in technology:

  • ‘democratization of database technologies
  • information mobility
  • information aggregation
WRT social networks she considers three developments:
  • individuals publishing information about themselves
  • posting information about others on one’s web page
  • capacity to monitor and track others’ activities
I have to say that from a personal perspective I think the smart phone (with its close integration (in fact seamless) with social networking platforms e.g. picassa, google+, twitter, facebook has accelerated everything in the last 18-24 months.
I found the discussion about the benefits of privacy e.g. in people’s personal development very relevant – and reminded me of what society and individual may be losing through some of the so called advances.

Author: Barry OGorman

Barry O'Gorman is an independent business and IT consultant, based in Dublin, Ireland.

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