July 03, 2013 Articles
The words private and privacy have really evolved during my lifetime. When I was young these words were used to describe someone’s personality or the culture in which they lived. Privacy meant having a lot of trees on your property or a sign on your office door. It meant storing your personal effects in a safe place in your home, perhaps in a shoebox under the bed. Privacy was somewhat simple to achieve and for the most part up to you to protect. You just kept what you didn’t want to shared either in your head or out of the view of friends, family and the general public. If you didn’t what people to know your thoughts on a particular issue, you kept it to yourself... you were a private person.
From the beginning of time people have been very private about common everyday things like financial information, health history, love and marriage. Until recently, those areas of our lives have always been conducted on paper or by telephone. The phone calls were made behind closed doors and the paper was either hand delivered or sealed tightly in an envelope. The information coming and going could be safely exchanged with little worry about the contents being shared outside the relationship unless you wanted to share it. And if your privacy was compromised, you had a better than average chance of determining who may have been responsible and how far the information traveled. Privacy was also easier to maintain years ago because of the company we kept, or the “network” as we now call it. My families had twenty or so close friend and neighbors; we had classmates, one family doctor, a dentist and several aunt and uncles. These people were basically all the people we frequently interacted with. Our bills were delivered to our creditors using the U.S. Postal Service and garbage was stored in plastic bags and picked up on Wednesday by a guy named Al. We had a very simple network and if it was privacy we were looking for, it was easy to find. Read More...
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