Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Four myths about privacy

Date:
May 2, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Many privacy discussions follow a similar pattern, and involve the same kinds of arguments. It’s commonplace to hear that privacy is dead, people -- especially kids -- don’t care about privacy, people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, and privacy is bad for business. “These claims are common, but they’re myths,” says a privacy law expert.

Many privacy discussions follow a similar pattern, and involve the same kinds of arguments. It's commonplace to hear that privacy is dead, that people -- especially kids -- don't care about privacy, that people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, and that privacy is bad for business. "These claims are common, but they're myths," said Neil M. Richards, JD, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.

"These privacy myths are not only false, they get in the way of the kind of important conversations we need to have about personal information in a digital age. If we continue to believe privacy myths, if we think about privacy as outdated or impossible, our digital revolution may have no rules at all, a result that will disempower all but the most powerful among us.

"Our understandings of privacy must evolve; we can no longer think about privacy as merely how much of our lives are completely secret, or about privacy as hiding bad truths from society. How we shape the technologies and data flows will have far-reaching effects for the social structures of the digital societies of the future."

In an article, "Four Privacy Myths," available online via the Social Science Research Network, Richards explained why four of the most common privacy myths persist -- and how we can avoid them. His arguments in brief:

"First, privacy cannot be dead because it deals with the rules governing personal information; in an age of personal information, rules about how that information can flow will be more important than ever.

Second, people (and young people) do care deeply about privacy, but they face limited choices and limited information about how to participate in the processing of their data.

Third, privacy isn't just for people with dark secrets; it's for all of us. Not just because we all have things we'd prefer weren't publicly broadcast, but more fundamentally because information is power and personal information is personal power.

Finally, privacy is not always bad for business. One of the best hopes for meaningful privacy protection in the future is for businesses to compete on privacy, and there is some evidence that this is starting to happen."

Richards noted that clearing away the myths is an essential first step to talking about privacy in a helpful and constructive way.

"It's only when we clear away the myths that we can have the essential conversations we need to have about how personal information is shaping our society, now and in the future. We may ultimately decide that we want less privacy, less control of our personal information. But the privacy myths are stopping that conversation, those decisions, from happening. Clearing away the privacy myths is an important first step to let us decide as a society what kind of digital future we want to live in."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richards, Neil M. Four Privacy Myths. SSRN, April 22, 2014 [link]

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Four myths about privacy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081204.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, May 2). Four myths about privacy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081204.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Four myths about privacy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081204.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as are known now, the World Health Organization said as the US announced plans to test an experimental Ebola vaccine. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins