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TED Talk – Gleen Greenwald: Why privacy matters

gleen-greenwald-ted-talkA recent TED talk by Glenn Greenwald has gain some traction in the space of security. The talk entitled “Why privacy matters” covers a very controversial topic “Privacy”. What it means and how it applies to us this day in age and most importantly why it matters.

He begins the talk separating people in the two categories. The “good” & “bad” people. Essentially those who don’t care about privacy and feel as if they have nothing to hide versus those who are more vocal on the topic. He goes onto make a series of connections via privacy and real world examples.

Examples include such people as CEO’s from Google, to those who claim they don’t believe in privacy. This raises a big conversation on privacy, and why it does matter. Those who say they don’t have anything to hide and don’t have a concern over privacy, still do things like password protection on our social media, e-mail, etc. In a public environment like the internet we still have this notion of privacy. No matter who we are we have things to hide is the point Greenwald makes.

This engaging look at privacy doesn’t mean people have certain skeletons in their closet, but rather want these spaces keept to ourselves, essentially retaining personal privacy. Our nature changes when you introduce a monitored environment. We react differently when we think we’re “being watched”. In this web 2.0 age privacy is a highly discussed topic.

From social media to other platforms what makes certain aspects fair or unfair towards the users. What violates privacy? These are important questions to be asking as web users. Our data, personal or not, exists on the internet only a search away. However it’s important to remember just as much as we share nowadays we all have a sense for a private domain. Be it a journal, blog, etc. This is why privacy does and should matter. It’s in our human nature to be private at times, despite the social creatures we are.

The speaker goes onto to talk more about mass surveillance both on and off the web & why it’s something that puts our privacy in danger. This sense of always being tracked, watched, or followed, creates this mind prison effect. We act differently, our movements more cautious even if we have “nothing to hide”.

Privacy extends to all reaches of the world. ISP, TV Cable companies, websites, social networks the list goes on. In a world where privacy is eliminated it enables conformity.

Privacy is a space where we as individuals or even groups at times creates an open forum, enabling creativity. Whether it’s a password behind an account or a locked door it matters. Not cause we have things to hide or are planning something nefarious but because we have the right to it as human beings. It’s a mindset. An important talk on a very big topic this day in age. In an era of a wired world where we all have connection & access to whatever is going on around the world. Privacy matters.

Photo Credit: TED / Flickr.

Renee Biana

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