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  • Two sides of the same coin – the right to privacy and freedom of expression | Privacy International
    content and confines are contested subject to never ending games of tug of war between individuals governments and corporations Innovation and change not just in technologies but in migration and border flows security and conflicts attitudes and priorities inform and challenge our conceptions of the private and the public The continual development of new means to undermine or protect privacy gives rise to new discussions about how to contextualise it and new questions about its salience in changing contexts Privacy may have no fixed meaning or core content our conceptualisations of privacy are bound to vary across historical periods cultures and places Understanding and protecting privacy is also challenged by the constant evolution of technologies that transform the way we think about the private and public spheres Technological change alters our relationships and interactions with governments and the corporate sector and changes how we think about the realization and protection of human rights This is particularly so when it comes to our communications how we form and impart our beliefs and opinions In order to enjoy privacy of communications individuals must be able to exchange information and ideas in a space beyond the reach of the State the private sector and other members of society As technologies increase the reach of the State place power in the hands of the private sector and create new societies and citizenries online privacy protections are increasingly crucial Of course the failure to protect and promote the right to privacy is about more than an inability to agree on a definition or conceptualization of the right Rather because the right to privacy is the fundamental safeguard of the citizen from the State it is viewed by the State as a barrier to control an impediment to power Privacy is at the heart of the most basic understandings of human dignity the ability to make autonomous choices about our lives and relationships without outside interference or intimidation is central to who we are as human beings Autonomy is not just about the subjective capacity of an individual to make a decision but also about having the external social political and technological conditions that make such a decision possible Privacy confers those external conditions As private autonomy is a key component of public life and debate privacy is not only a social value but also a public good Yet by the State that seeks to control its populace it is viewed as an impediment and thus is conceptualized as hampering security development and modernization Individuals are offered simplistic false choices between competing values dignity or convenience freedom or control our rights and freedoms or security modernisation and development States tell us that stability cannot be ensured if anonymous online expression is unregulated that communications must be visible by the State in order to prevent terrorism and cyber crime that interactivity without observability would lead to illegality All of these are false choices pitting technology as a means for evil and privacy the preserve of darker forces in society The idea that we must choose between privacy and security has too often pervaded the political and economic discourses creating false dichotomies and spurring over simplified arguments about the roles of technologies The discussion reveals no nuance no consideration of the values and priorities tied up in privacy and security no reference to the potentials of technology or the changing nature of threats and security no indication of the other choices that exist It has cast security and privacy as competing concepts rather than interlinking and potentially reinforcing values Technologies have the potential to diffuse rather than exacerbate the privacy security divide The challenge is to improve access to and understanding of technologies ensure that policy makers and the laws they adopt respond to the challenges and potentialities of technologies and generate greater public debate to ensure that rights and freedoms are negotiated at a societal level Privacy and free expression making the link Technologies have blurred the line between public and private thought and expression courts across the globe are confounded by questions about how to characterise social media musings and blogs how to think about data like location IP addresses and cookies Today more than ever privacy and free expression are interlinked an infringement upon one can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other This is particularly so in the case of communications surveillance The things an individual says to another person their intimate feelings and opinions who they have relationships and connections with what newspapers they read and what movies they watch where they go and who they talk to each of these pieces of information are incredibly sensitive and personal They have long been considered the preserve of an individual s private life not for exposure to or infiltration by anyone without consent or without exceptional justification Innovations in some technologies have facilitated increased possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion enabling anonymity rapid information sharing and cross cultural dialogues At the same time changes in technologies have given rise to increased opportunities for State surveillance and intervention into individuals private communications Digital back doors are built into mobile telephone networks to enable State surveillance technologies such as mass interception systems and voice and speech recognition technology enable countrywide surveillance Social media monitoring tools deep packet inspection and trojans are used to monitor individuals online Data generated by internet companies about internet users online activity are accessed by States who are increasingly mandating the retention of such data The range of expression that might be surveilled has also grown Whereas surveillance was historically aimed at private conversations taking place on the telephone in the modern era a vast portion of the expressive power of citizens is channeled through surveilable channels including not only private one to one conversations but books magazines conversations between groups outlines and finished works family records library searches radio shows live video and digitized historical cultural artifacts Modern technology increases access to

    Original URL path: (2016-04-27)
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