Thursday, November 10, 2005

Is privacy no longer a right but a luxury? "Historically, privacy was, perhaps, one of the defining traits of British Society: lack of identity cards; ability to express views (however distasteful and abhorrent) complemented by the privacy with which the Public Authorities could pursue the business of government and administration.
However, current media coverage would indicate that there is now less concern for the right to privacy, which is increasingly seen as a privilege or luxury. The perceived, if unproven, greater threat of terrorism is put forward as the major factor or excuse. This is complemented by public behaviour: the obsessive desire to participate in and be spectators of confessional stories on TV and other media; the abandon with which people communicate in public on their mobile phones�often releasing information of a highly personal or even commercially confidential nature. Finally, the UK Freedom of Information Act gives the Public access to a great deal of information relating to Public Institutions, which was previously not physically available or accessible.
The IT industry is an important tool for governments and their agents and for corporations and their agents in setting the boundaries of privacy. IT has eroded many of the traditional boundaries, which gave privacy protection through its capacity and capability of processing and storage of information: information can be compiled, stored, accessed, retrieved and analysed to an extent that would have been inconceivable even a decade previously. IT applications seek to vacuum information, retain and store it, sometimes in an intelligent form."

No comments: