Skip to content

Privacy vs Security

With the implementation of the GDPR and the Facebook data leaks it shows the need to constantly revisit how we think about privacy. But how far can we go to ensure our privacy is safeguarded without decreasing our safety. Security is a value that is quite common in the classical political philosophy mostly tied to the social contract. It is humankind that gives up certain freedoms, including privacy, to the state so that their safety is ensured and they are able to live in peace. However, with the rise of technology we are often more aware of ways our privacy is violated, but if you have got nothing to hide, you have got nothing to fear?


One of the difficult aspects when talking about privacy is how one can define it. A common misconception is to relate privacy to secrecy, this is also the fallacy of the nothing to hide argument. Privacy is not merely to hide your secrets, it encompasses numerous amount of situations. A great example is the protection against stalkers, when someone is following you and monitoring your movement every day that is a clear violation of your privacy. A second example is when other parties can have free access to your past events it can cause you to miss out on opportunities or be treated unfavourably over peers. These two examples are exactly what is at stake in our current digital age. Companies sharing your information to a third party without your consent is a obvious cause that can have the above mentioned repercussions.

The advancement of the Internet of Things privacy becomes even more of a challenge to maintain. Coffee companies would without doubt pay a heavy fee for example to know how customers have synced their coffee machines to their alarm clock to make marketing even more effective. Habits and attitudes have always been key in marketing strategy, but information in the wrong hands can influence not only what advertisements you are shown, but also who to target in elections.

Privacy and Security shall always have to be perfectly balanced and based upon public opinion. While there does not seem to be a big problem with tech giants knowing your interests, you should always have a right to know what personal information companies have acquired from you and how it is being used. Transparency should be the key. Giving consent for uncertain data handling is a bad practice. However, these days it is so hard not to just select 'accept cookies' since else browsing some websites becomes much more of an issue.

Awareness should always be key in the privacy and security debate. People often do not realise or are bothered with what personal information is being passed around from them. But the dystopian scenarios with personal score/ratings seems to become much more likely.