“the failure to reach consensus on a definition of privacy may be frustrating to some, legal scholar Daniel Solove argues that each approach to privacy reveals insight into how we manage privacy in everyday life” (boyd, 59).
The above quote highlights an issue that we have peripherally mentioned since the beginning of this course. We have focused on privacy versus surveillance, or privacy versus security. We have alternated using surveillance and security because it is hard to pinpoint exactly which of them to which we are referring. However, although a slight majority of the class is on the side of privacy, we have not debated the use of the word privacy. We also haven’t reached a clear consensus on privacy as a class, which is interesting to me. How can we be so sure privacy is the word we want to use if we don’t have an actual definition of the word in the context we wish to use it.
boyd lists three different definitions of privacy, and although they are all similar in some ways, they are all definitely different definitions. I am also interested that the three definitions she list are all presented by people in law. I do not wholeheartedly agree with any of the definitions, and I’m sure that there each member of our class has their own personal definition of privacy. Technology experts would have different definitions, and I suspect that each privacy-oriented career would have individuals with their own definitions.
How can we continue to debate privacy versus surveillance or security when we do not have one clear definition of privacy for this debate? I do not believe that this debate will ever be settled, but I also think that it will be even harder to be settled without clear definitions for both sides of the issue. The definition of privacy was not something that I had previously considered before reading this work by boyd, but now I am extremely interested in its definition.