On privacy, safety, openness, and growth

I propose that privacy is key to having any kind of healthy value base in society.

This was inspired by What Happens Next Will Amaze You and by The following companies just betrayed billions of people.

Privacy is not only a question of individuals being smart enough to not share anything too personal online. That was the advice often given in the end of the nineties and the beginning of the 00’s. Instead, the grand scale invasion of privacy through our technology, offends the basis of what it is to be an active, independent member of society in the first place.

I am a big believer in privacy online. I also believe openness is a core value in a functional society. Superficially openness and privacy appear to conflict; in reality, they support one another.


Roughly, the end goal for an individual in society is growing up to be an adult. A responsible, well functioning, well being, free member of society. Not an adult in a patronizing definition, where a biased authority assess your adult-ness. Be it your parents,  your political tribe, or your religion.

Real adulthood is ultimately measured by your independence in making your own decisions – carrying your own responsibility. That is what determines if you are living your life genuinely, as yourself. You define what you are, you are capable of sharing to others what your values are without being discriminated.

As an adult, you are capable of living a life of not dominating nor
subduing/submitting yourself to others. You are capable of genuine
cooperation with equals, who are (just like you) allowed to be flawed
(broken, confused or helpless) – while still being considered equals?

The possibility for both openness and privacy are painting the very same picture in society. The name of that picture is trust.

Openness is defined by being voluntary. (Being open involuntarily just means being spied on.) To be open, to open up to other individuals, we must first feel we are safe to do so – even as we are not perfect.

Safety rises from being able to trust you are not going to be violated.  Learning to trust that you have privacy, respected by the surrounding society, is a foundation for learning to communicate openly, to become empowered members of society.

Let’s build a society where becoming an adult remains possible.

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