Alireza Hayati's Personal Weblog

What Does Privacy Mean to Me 25 June, 2019

It’s been a long time since I left social media and took my privacy seriously. Since then, privacy matters to me a lot. I don’t use Apple iPhone or any other smartphone anymore and I also haven’t used proprietary software. But sometimes people ask me what does privacy mean to me. Since more than 10 people asked me this, I decided to write this blog post.

First of all, I don’t think privacy means to be anonymous. I think privacy means to be able to control your own data. Being anonymous is one of benefits of taking control of your information. I also don’t believe we should only be controller of data people/companies collect from us, I believe we should be able to control what information can be collected from us.

For example, if I visit a website, I should be able to control if that website should be able to receive my IP address or not. Or when I use a phone, I should be able to control if anyone but the recipient can read my text message or not. I should decide if I want my text messages being stored in a data center.

I believe privacy means to be able to control whether or not you want your information be accessible or how much of your information is an be used. I give you another example. When I want to sign-up for a French class, that educational institute requires my real name, date of birth, and speaking skills. It’s fine if I can decide how long they can use or store my information. I should be able to order them to delete any stored information of me after (for example) 1 year.

I believe privacy means to be respected as a person. Privacy doesn’t mean that whether we can delete our Facebook account or not. Privacy means that we should be able to decide what information Facebook can collect from us. Privacy means not allowing Facebook to collect information at all without our consent.

A lot of people take online privacy seriously but they don’t think about how their privacy, freedom, and right to own their information in real life. We should take action for that. We should start respecting our privacy in real life too.