Why Privacy Matters

Privacy, that human right so fundamental to our open and free society, is under massive threat in our current world path.

New to the Punkt. library is what we think is an important book called Why Privacy Matters, by Neil Richards.

Richards’ book is a must-read for those who want to better understand what privacy is truly about, why it is important to protect, and what is at stake in this information age.

Perhaps innocently or naïvely when talking about privacy, the old “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear” adage is what immediately comes to mind for many. The idea that privacy is nothing but the ability to hide unpleasant truths and murky secrets, has been instilled on us through manipulation of what is acceptable, both at an institutional and big tech level.

As with all of the elemental human values – Such as equality or freedom of speech, privacy is not a binary yes, or no. It is nuanced, a continuum, and context matters. Everyone has something that they would want to keep away from the public or prying eyes, from a neighbour, or even their closest friends or family. And certainly from the likes of some big tech organisations. Privacy is a necessity for everyone, to be the very best ‘me’ that we can be.

Richards briefly touches upon how ironic that the very people that profit from the current lack of proper privacy regulation, the ‘prophets’, such as Zuckerberg - “privacy is over”, and Vint Cerf - Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, “privacy might be an historical anomaly”, are intensely protective of their own privacy. Perhaps Richards could have explored this juxtaposition even further, and the core message that privacy, is about power.

Richards is a law professor and is rightly occupied with the meagre legal framework currently in place to support essential privacy protection, but is primarily a humanist on a mission to alter our consciousness of why it is so important that we clearly define privacy rules, and urgently so. Message received!

And as more and more people start to demand alternative paths to the current status quo, we continue to strive to deliver this choice to our customers through Punkt.

Why Privacy Matters is published by Oxford University Press.


View more books