TED Conversations

Arkady Grudzinsky

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

Do we need privacy?

privacy

Noun

1. The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.
2. The state of being free from public attention.

So, it's a form of freedom. I find it deeply controversial.

Does it mean that we should not pay attention to each other? There are stories on internet of people dying in subway from heart attack in the midst of a crowd passing by.

Is it possible? We leave traces behind us every minute - online, when we use credit cards to buy something, even by walking in the street with a cell phone in our pocket. Why are we outraged or feel threatened when we find out that someone "is watching"? Perhaps, it goes deeper in our psyche that we think or can explain.

What is the difference between privacy and secrecy? When and why do we need them?

Some people put their whole life online. Some are cautious about giving any personal information to anyone. Ironically, we can protect ourselves from oppression and crime both ways.

What's your attitude towards privacy? I would appreciate the links to videos and sources on this topic.

Topics: privacy secrecy
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 18 2013: Your question is in the domain of needs and wants! We need air and water to live, but privacy in this context comes under the category of a want, not a need as such!

    The differentiator here tho is when it transgresses into the area of criminality....because we don't as a society want to be safe but need to be safe from being murdered or raped etc!

    From this perspective, we don't need privacy because it obscures/protects the criminals as we need as a society to be protected from criminals.

    So now looking at this we could conclude that if we need water and air to live and a lack of privacy so that criminals can not hide behind privacy so that their actions are public to so then prevent them from murdering us, which prevents us from living, then in this context, we don't need privacy, as it kills us!

    As long as what you do is not criminal then you deserve privacy, however when you cross the line and become criminal.... then you need to be ousted and cut out like a cancer.

    The majority of people are not criminal, tho that said, it is a whole other argument with direct reference to criminals who could be saved from becoming one in the first place thru a properly managed and administered public works program that targeted key characteristics such as drug abuse etc! : D
    • thumb
      Jun 18 2013: Re: "From this perspective, we don't need privacy because it obscures/protects the criminals as we need as a society to be protected from criminals."

      You forget the other side. Privacy of OTHERS is not needed for our security. But our own privacy protects us from crime. Being open also protects us from suspicion and government harassment as implied by one of the videos that I quoted.

      All in all, as I stated, privacy is a form of freedom. And talking about freedom has no meaning unless we define "from what". This article makes this point very clear http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/cranston11.htm.

      security - The state of being free from danger or threat.

      privacy - 1. The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people. 2. The state of being free from public attention.

      We can balance our need for privacy based on the relative value we place on these kinds of freedom: freedom from unwanted attention, freedom from danger or threat, freedom from suspicion of others.

      I think, being watched is often understood as being threatened. Perhaps, this feeling is an atavism from our primitive past associated with a gaze of a predator or an alpha-male.
      http://land.allears.net/blogs/photoblog/gorilla_stare_st.jpg. I think, this feeling is often irrational.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.