Privacy has become all the more essential in the age of data exploitation. The way data and technology are now deployed means that our privacy is under increased threat and on a scale that we couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago, outside of science fiction – the ways in which we can be tracked and identified have exploded, alongside the types and scale of information available about us.
Privacy is having the choice – it is the right to decide who we tell what, to establish boundaries, to limit who has access to our bodies, places and things, as well as our communications and our information. It allows us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us, and to define those relationships on our own terms.
Privacy is how we seek to protect ourselves and society against arbitrary and unjustified use of power, by controlling what can be known about us and done to us, while protecting us from those who aim to exert control over our data, and ultimately all aspects of our lives.
Privacy is foundational to who we are as human beings, and every day it helps us define our relationships with the outside world. It gives us space to be ourselves free of judgement, and allows us to think freely without discrimination. It gives us the freedom of autonomy, and to live in dignity.
In addition to all of the above, privacy is a right that as such also enables our enjoyment of other rights, and interference with our privacy often provides the gateway to the violation of the rest of our rights.
Starting on International Human Rights Day and for the next 30 weeks, we will be looking at stories of abuse through the lens of privacy, highlighting privacy’s key role in their occurrence. The first round of stories will be thematically following the 30 fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Privacy matters because...