Research Busts Myths About Privacy

by Kathy Jones on May 5 2014 7:38 PM

 Research Busts Myths About Privacy
Discussions on privacy 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.

Neil M. Richards, JD, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, said that their understandings of privacy must evolve; we can no longer think about privacy as merely how much of their lives are completely secret, or about privacy as hiding bad truths from society.

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 could avoid them.

Richards said privacy cannot be dead as 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.

Secondly, he said, 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.

He said that the 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.

And 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.