Monday, October 05, 2009

Getting Privacy Right

The Burton Group's Bob Blakley writes ("Gartner Gets Privacy Dead Wrong") a seminal piece on privacy - what it is, what it isn't and how to protect it. In the course of his blog entry he manages to pretty much dismiss most of the work that's been done under the rubric of "privacy" (which, as he notes, is really about secrecy) over the past dozen years.

As he writes: "That's how privacy works; it's not about secrecy, and it's not about control: it's about sociability. Privacy is a social good which we give to one another, not a social order in which we control one another."

It's an issue I've brought up a number of times in the past. Last year, for example, I discussed where many "...have gone wrong is to equate privacy with anonymity. You don’t have to be anonymous to maintain the privacy of your data. Again going back 100 years when you went into the bar and everybody knew your name there was also much about you that wasn’t known. Most things about you, in fact, weren’t known. Those things we want to keep private - our medical data, financial data, legal situation, etc. - were kept private. But people did know who you were, and perhaps where you lived, or worked, who your family was - and no one thought that was strange."

Secrecy and anonymity are not privacy, and the quicker we all understand that the quicker we can move to protect privacy.

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