Comment: Well, here's my input.

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Cyril's picture

Well, here's my input.

Well, here's my input.

Yes, I think privacy is important, in a free society ... for the individual, for all the reasons you stated, and albeit it is becoming more and more of a joke ... for governments.

But, guess what. It took me a long time to really understand WHY EXACTLY privacy is important to have, A PRIORI.

See, I have read your post and turns out I had made for myself a similar reasoning once (in the process of understanding this issue). So, here it is.

On the surface, I'd be a close to perfect example for your points. I am pretty law abiding. At 42, near to 43 ... I have never stepped in a police station as a teenager. I have stepped in a police station only once as an adult, on the other continent ... and that was to declare the theft of my employer's equipment I had custody of and neglected a bit to watch more closely.

I never had, not even one, opportunity to get in trouble with other people and/or the force of law. Neither on the road or on sidewalks. Neither in the day or night time. That wasn't even so difficult as I see it, although people are often surprised to hear that. I'm not sure why. But yes, it does raise the question: is privacy so important for law abiding people ... anyway?

Yes, it is. Because the fallacy is all around thinking of ourselves as groups and interests of groups conflicting with each other with the law and government as ultimate referees. That's just not the end of the story.

I want to control, and remain capable of, the amount of information I let go into the "public domain". Because this is what I eventually understood about the true nature of privacy:

privacy is not so much about what you want to keep private as it is about what you want others to access as being truthful, genuine, and public. And the government, or by extension, any other "group of interests" isn't there to decide whether or not this or that facet of your life is moral, suitable, or relevant EVEN ASSUMING you are not breaking the law. Only other INDIVIDUALS ought to be competent to gauge your morality, political opinions, professional opinions, relationship standards, etc.

Those other individuals could be your next friend, your next spouse (if divorcing from current or single), your next employer, your next customer, ... etc.

Thus, while I am fine, and happy, to release A LOT of information "in the public domain" (say, online, but I could do it by other means) regarding my professional experience, or the places I lived in, the same DOES NOT apply for instance regarding my kids. Or the women I have been married to.

This is because I ALSO care about past, present, and future inter-personal relations I had, have, or will have.

Obviously also, you do not want random people knowing too much, if at all, about the extent of your wealth - not until every single person on this planet is law abiding - which will never happen - just as it will never happen we have a "caring government" protecting our private property, private information, private whatever, on our behalf.

Privacy is our insurance that our publicity is able to keep any meaning, any truthfulness, for we HAVE chosen WHAT can be safely released public, with stakes WE have measured insignificant enough for the lives - including the types of inter-personal relations - that we have prior chosen for ourselves.

Makes sense?


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius