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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Privacy for Privacy's Sake

With all the Facebook and Google+ discussion flying around the Internet, one word keeps popping up over and over again: "privacy".

One phrase in particular keeps slamming my ear-drums: "I know privacy is important, but..."

So here's my question: why is privacy important?

Of course if you're a criminal or something, and you genuinely do have something to hide, privacy would be important to you. But for the rest of us who don't do anything of particular interest to anyone (even our own loved ones), why does privacy matter?

In a world where Twitter and Facebook are flooded with people broadcasting to the world what they had for breakfast, and nobody gives a crap, is privacy relevant at all?

I should point out that in general I'm a pretty private person. I feel a natural inclination towards keeping things private.

But why? What's the benefit to keeping things private? Assuming there is a rational reason for privacy, where does one draw the line between what should be kept private and what shouldn't?