Do We Need Privacy

    To begin with, what is privacy? The desire for it has existed ever since earth was populated by conscious thought. Privacy is a state, free of disruption and observation – conditions stimulated by the presence of other conscious thinkers. Based on those terms, the desire for privacy can be explained by splitting it into two sections: the fear of being judged and the fear of ones own security. For example, a human may desire to change clothes privately to avoid having their bare body judged, whereas, it is believed that dogs tend to eat in privacy due to their wild instincts of protecting their food (like wolves). Many argue that both these explanations prove one thing: privacy is only needed as an escape to allow one to drop their guard in piece. Just like any other species, humans have negative tendencies, and it is not false to say that it is those negative tendencies that require people to desire privacy. 

    On the one hand, this is a very valid argument. Societies set implicit standards on people. For example, it would seem preposterous for someone to jog down a busy street, in a multicoloured suit, singing songs to themselves. However this may be someone’s desire. The point is, that people unconsciously conform to societies standards in fear of being judged. This may be useful in terms of keeping order, however this can be very tiring after a prolonged period. If people however were naturally good (behaving in a way which a good society approves), no escape would be required and thus no privacy. 

   Furthermore, the reason privacy is good is to avoid mass manipulation. Ways for people to hack systems to access data and information on people. For example, during Brexit, campaigns employed mass data mining companies such as ‘Cambridge Analytica’ to study the demographics, learning who to appeal to and about what. This was using people personal information to mislead them. This is evident, based on the fact that now that most population is aware of the true repercussions, many have shifted back to the remain. This makes it clear that through an invasion of what people considered privacy, unethical acts were performed due to the absence of good in the people who performed this manipulation and thus it is definitely necessary for privacy to exist, as it stands. 

    On the other hand, what if people were not bad? What if every single person had good intentions? The fear of being judged negatively would be alleviated, however ones fear for their own security wouldn’t. This would be because everyone would still have self interest. Suppose someone is in charge of a firm in a very competitive industry and is preparing a major business move to increase the companies profits (all of which are later distributed to charities for good causes of course). Because this would be taking profit away from competitors and attracting it to itself, wouldn’t competitor use the complete transparency to predict and block that action? Would a mother of starving children not use someone elses credit card information (which would not be private, but instead available to everyone) to purchase food. She wouldn’t be bad but it would cause mass disorder and disruption which could be followed by chaos.  

    To conclude, privacy has always been good because people are not good. Based on this belief, humans have structured society and its systems in such a way that no privacy would cause disorder and chaos no matter how good the people. Therefore, to argue that privacy is only good because people are bad, there would have to be a mass reconstruction of humans social and technical systems. 

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