You’re Not as Private as You Think You Are

Privacy concerns are riding high in the media currently, thanks to the high-profile data breach cases with the Veterans Association, AOL, AT&T and others. I’ll just note quickly here that these events aren’t really new, its just general public awareness is increasing. Which is good.

Privacy is a fickle thing in the United States. Unlike many other first world countries, we have no explicit guarantee of privacy rights, though many interpret parts of the constitution as such. Courts all over the land are involved in cases that (re)define privacy rights and law in the USA.

The single biggest issue with privacy rights in the US is having a clear definition of what privacy is. What sort of actions, information or things
can be said to be private? Privacy is deeply tied to social morĂ©s and subjective opinions. Often we Americans will go about our daily business with the assumption certain aspects of our lives are private, and others may not know about them. Yet in reality those parts of our lives are publically accessible. Once enough little pieces of information are put together and correlated, a surprisingly personal view of someone’s life can be presented.

OK, that’s enough musing, let’s get into the fun stuff!