Sometimes I wonder if introverts are more prone to being interested “privacy” when it comes to technology. I’m not entirely sure what else to posit as my probable cause for having concerns about this subject in my online and/or personal life, but I always have.

Was just looking at a Reddit r/privacy thread about this, where someone is trying to convince their family member to get into Linux, get into privacy, etc. As far as Linux goes, I’m sure it’s great and I’ve had other people try to convince me to get into it as well, and have never had the time/interest to do so.

But being concerned about privacy just comes naturally to me.Β  That said, I agree there is a big brick wall you hit when talking to people who aren’t naturally interested in this subject. It’s the old argument of “I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t need to hide what I’m doing.”

I’ve heard this argument so many times now that it almost makes my brain fritz when I hear it. What could one possibly say in response? Something, something tyranny? I don’t know the answer really. I’m also not overly concerned with converting anyone to the privacy cause.

In discovering the EU conception of privacy though, I was happy to see it flipped in the direction of data protection instead. While it might be just a semantic difference, I like looking at data protection moreso than privacy because it seems a bit easier, or more neutral, to explain the virtue of it. Someone who doesn’t necessarily care about privacy might still be able to grasp and be interested in the idea that their personal data ought to be subject to some kind of controls and safeguards.

You don’t have to be “doing something wrong” to benefit from having your personal data protected, and even — gasp — regulated (yes, I know regulation is anathema in the American mythic identity). Data protection to me is more like the ability to set limits of who can access what in the data-streams we create out of our lives. Who are we willing to share what with? What are the expectations of use for any given point of data?

When you set something to be shared only with one or two trusted people, or a select group of friends, what are the repercussions of that setting not being respected? You don’t have to be doing something against the law to get into trouble sharing information with the wrong target audience.

Though I still use both terms, it was a relief to me to discover the articulation of a clear(er) mandate in the realm of data protection regimes, versus the often muddy and seemingly arbitrary realm of “privacy.”

It may very well be that in the next two decades, our expectations for what was traditionally called privacy may go way down, whereas our need for strong data protection will go up, up and up as we generate and are awash in more and more data…