I had breakfast with an undisclosed list of people on Sunday morning, and we spent a lot of time talking about privacy and related issues. Today I came across a quote in a New Yorker piece that summarizes privacy nicely:

This is a privacy issue and goes to the heart of us not wanting you to know.

You really have to read the whole essay, by Ian Frazier, to get the honest experience.


oliver's picture
oliver on March 17, 2008 - 22:40 Permalink

Talking to lists is not something I’d want to disclose, I don’t mind telling you. I think you might have to be an abstract entity or talking about one to use “undisclosed” sensibly. Writing in the third person as one who may or may not have been at the publicly acknowledged lunch, I could myself anonymously or under a pseudonym use “undisclosed” to publish what I think you had mind, however I’d want to be sure that you would not mind me disclosing what that may or may not have been first. Interested parties know how to reach me.

Poor Eliot Spitzer's picture
Poor Eliot Spitzer on March 18, 2008 - 13:54 Permalink

If only poor Eliot could have a moment of privacy…

But the world doesn’t work that way, we delve into every sorted de’tail’ — exposing the underbelly of humanity, warts and all.

Who could ask for anything more?

Marian's picture
Marian on March 19, 2008 - 13:54 Permalink

It’s not an accident that a right to privacy is usually absent in a totalitarian society. Without the right to privacy any little thing that one does can become a matter of public policy. Despite appearances to the contrary, this happens to the poorest most often in any society: homelessness is the epitomy of an absence of privacy. And the weaker you are the less privacy you have. That’s not an accident. Poor people are often unable to defend their rights. That does not mean that the rights are a mistake. I think we underestimate the extent to which we enjoy rights and freedoms. We’re like people who never think about air or water and so are susceptible to arguments that we don’t really need them. More fool us.

Ann's picture
Ann on March 19, 2008 - 14:56 Permalink

Right on, Marian.
It is exactly those people who have always had privacy — or control over their own information  — who cannot understand what a lack of privacy really means.
I know I just restated what you said. But I am passionate about this.

oliver's picture
oliver on March 19, 2008 - 16:57 Permalink

Privacy protects me from people, but it also protects people from me. Giving rights to people with no privacy—people out “in public”—is taking protection from others. That’s why it’s legal to smoke in a home you own but not in a public building. Homeless people have limited rights to walking around naked and singing at the top of their lungs as well.

Marian's picture
Marian on March 19, 2008 - 19:09 Permalink

I know I just restated what you said. But I am passionate about this.”

Yes, but you were more succinct and I could use the support.

Peter, I wish there were an editing function on this blog. For instance, if I could go back I would probably say : “That’s not an accident either” instead of “That’s not an accident.”

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 20, 2008 - 15:12 Permalink

Letting it all hang out, an essay in The Guardian from Neil McIntosh, touches eloquently on much of the above.

Marian's picture
Marian on March 21, 2008 - 15:27 Permalink

I’ve written a review of that essay and posted it on my blog, in case anyone is interested.

Marian's picture
Marian on March 24, 2008 - 14:21 Permalink

Actually, here is the permalink