Privacy is the ability of a person to control the availability of information about and exposure of him- or herself. It is related to being able to function in society anonymously (including pseudonymous or blind credential identification).

According to Eric Hughes, "Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world."[1]

Types of privacy giving rise to special concerns:

Some ways in which privacy is lost include the following:
  • Waiver of privacy right included in the terms of a contract.
  • Theft of confidential information, e.g. by computer cracking.
  • Statutory or regulatory orders to provide private material (eg, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in the UK)
  • Compulsory National identity cards, especially when linked to central government databases
  • Statutory or regulatory intrusion on private acts (assorted wiretapping provisions just about everywhere -- most do not include notice which can be opposed in a court)
  • Involuntary "outing", e.g. of homosexuals, often by others of the same political category who seek openness over privacy, or opponents intent on shaming them.

Some methods which have been used to defend privacy include the following:
  • Non-transparent packages;
  • Encryption of communications and other information;
  • De jure establishment of privacy rights as an entitlement;
  • sue, shun or harm those guilty of outing;
  • toilets, showers and changing rooms separated by sex and/or with separate cubicles; partitions between urinals; possibility to lock the door;
  • separate rooms for people in their house, possibility to lock the door, agreement to knock before entering (with or without waiting for a reply).

External Links

See also: The Transparent Society, carceral state, RFID, Data privacy, freedom, civil rights