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Understanding Privacy 164

privacyprof writes "Slashdot readers familiar with Professor Daniel J. Solove's essay, 'I've Got Nothing to Hide and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy,' might be interested in his new book, Understanding Privacy, which develops many of the ideas in that essay. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, there has been a great struggle to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible. The book argues there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by 'family resemblances.' It explains the framework for understanding privacy which was briefly discussed in the 'Nothing to Hide' essay. The book covers the framework in greater depth and explores how it applies to a wide array of privacy issues, such as data mining, surveillance, data security, and consumer privacy. Chapter 1 is available for free download."
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Understanding Privacy

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  • Sorta.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dwayner79 ( 880742 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @07:57PM (#23832573)
    Agreed that the majority of people understand privacy, though not all (mentally challenged, etc.).

    Disagree on the US government. Frankly, the type of data the US Government works with is mostly public knowledge anyway. I do not see the major infringement on privacy from the US Government. I see other terrible failures wrt individual rights (i.e. Bush's disregard for Habeus Corpus), but privacy seems a minor one.
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#23832647) Homepage

    This is essentially saying privacy is privacy. "The set of social boundaries ... that we are expected not to cross" really varies from person to person. In fact, if you use this definition, if people accept warrentless wiretapping as the norm, then social expectation will dictate that there really aren't any privacy violations going on, which is a neat little way to define away privacy erosions. What social boundaries are we talking about here, and who is the "we" that are expected not to cross them?
    I have argued with people in the past who don't care when I show them the keylogger on their Windows computers. They bank online, and I show them that there is a keylogger installed, and they are so stubborn in the mindset that "I don't know what it is, so it won't hurt me and please I don't want to learn". This is actually normal, as I've found this behaviour in many people. It's maddening. These are people that must be saved from themselves.

    Sometimes I think that simple GUI computer interfaces like KDE or Windows did to the PC what the automatic transmission did to the automobile. The bar of entry was lowered so low that now the complete idiots of the world can operate the technology and get themselves killed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:23PM (#23832849)

    Can I watch you have sex with your spouse
    I can't even watch that!

    or read your bank statement?
    Might as well give it a look, every one else seems to be.

    Can I have your exact height and weight
    6'2", 321 pounds. Damn you fast food!

    maybe get a glance at your mental health records?
    Well, you probably won't believe in the little blue men either.

    Do you mind if I videotape your grandfather's funeral?
    Already done, but would you mind editing in the Benny Hill theme?

    Got any love letters left over from Junior High I can read?
    None that you'd want to touch.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:56PM (#23833175)
    The action alone is already anything but ok, but the fact that you even wrote it in the right order to reflect the actions (read: commit the crime and retroactively make it legal) is what really kicks anything resembling an orderly state into the proverbial nuts.

    It basically means the government can commit any crime. Should they be caught red handed, they just legalize it retroactively. If they don't get caught, no reason to talk about it altogether.

    That doesn't really increase the faith and trust in the government and its agencies either. It's a sad time indeed when you're more afraid of your own country and its organisations rather than some kind of enemy.

    Feels a bit like Soviet Russia, if you ask me...
  • by Kingston ( 1256054 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:12PM (#23833303)
    A friend of mine grew up in Spain under Franco's regime. By the time she was ready to start work in the local factory, Franco had been dead for six years and Spain had become a democracy. A relative asked her to join the trade union at the factory and help out with the admin work.

    You may or may not agree with trade unions just bear with me.

    Most of us are lucky enough to live in democracies where we can make these choices and think nothing of it, we have nothing to hide after all. A few weeks after she started work, on the night of 23rd February 1981, fascist elements of the Spanish military attempted a coup and took control of the parliament. She spent the night along with her relative and other union officials burning and burying all the union membership details and correspondence because all of a sudden they did have something to hide, the mass graves of student radicals and trade unionists are still turning up from Franco's time [bbc.co.uk].

    Luckily the coup failed and democracy was quickly restored. The point being we can't burn or bury our electronic records, emails, phone logs, forum posts, blogs, journeys logged by electronic numberplate recognition and cellphone records because we don't have control of them. Privacy matters more than ever, the record of what you do now could last forever and you don't know who will use that information and for what purpose.

  • by statemachine ( 840641 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:17PM (#23833353)
    The point got across. The person does have something to hide and now sees there is nothing wrong with excluding people from seeing it -- whether that person calls it "privacy" or something else.

    Once you demolish the silly argument of "I've got nothing to hide," you immediately win the battle. Now that person has to acknowledge privacy as necessary. At this point, we're only talking about the degree -- which has nothing to do with this particular thread.

    Of course, you might get someone who wants to see if you're bluffing. That's when you set up an Internet website and follow through. If they balk and ask for money, then you still win, because now they see that their privacy is worth *something*.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @05:02AM (#23836107)

    Does anyone REALLY expect privacy when they talk on a phone or use the internet or the likes?
    Yes I do. And that's because I don't expect wholesale monitoring. Just like when I travel about in public I don't expect that every movement of every person in the entire town is recorded, filed away and cross-referenced for future use either. I consider wholesale monitoring to be an unreasonable search because the people doing the monitoring have no reason to suspect the people being monitored of committing a crime.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @05:57AM (#23836377)
    Sometimes I think that simple GUI computer interfaces like KDE or Windows did to the PC what the automatic transmission did to the automobile.

    Bad analogy. In the UK (and most countries outside North America) Automatic transmissions have always been *very* unpopular for various reasons (particularly the chiken and egg "most vehicles are manual, if I learn in and pass my test in an automatic I won't be able to drive most vehicles"), but there are still plenty of idiots on the UK roads.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.