There is no “privacy”

I tend to disagree with the common public expectation of “privacy”. I respectfully disagree with the privacy laws common in Europe that put limits on collecting and keeping data on people. Although professionally I greatly respect medical privacy rules, I personally wish we had a different set of rules that put the focus of protection elsewhere. When some court or civil rights organization in some country accuses Google of a privacy breach I tend to think that they bring an outdated, basically wrong, idea of privacy to the debate.

The reason I disagree with privacy is that there’s no such thing. It doesn’t actually exist.

When we think loosely about privacy, in fact, we think about three distinct things:

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Gay marriage… why?

Oh come on, gay marriage… not again!

I grudgingly support gay marriage. Gay people obviously want it, so we should have it. That much is a clear-cut civil rights issue. But it makes me sad that gay people should want to get married, of find it important.

Christian marriage is a rotten contract where a man buys a woman from her father for some price – usually land or farm animals. The man has to feed and “protect” the woman, and in exchange she has to be a sex slave, domestic slave, and reproductive beast. Adultery carries severe penalties, always for the woman because she might produce the wrong offspring, and sometimes for the man because he interferes with another man’s woman. Believe it or not, that was an attempt at feminism, a deal to share the burdens and benefits of mating between men and women sort of fairly.

It worked OK, I guess, for ancient agrarian societies. Actually it didn’t. Women hated the deal pretty much constantly for all of recorded history. A few generations ago, as in Juliet, women were fighting fiercely to have any say in whom they married, and in many places they still don’t. Only a couple of generations ago women stopped being bought (with dowry) and were no longer severely punished for adultery. Just a few years ago feminists managed to remove the sex slavery clause from the deal, so that now marriage is almost completely meaningless. Hooray for that! Continue reading