Privacy – Can we really define it?

Privacy, such a strong meaningful word. Such a vague and omnibus word. What do we really know about privacy? How much do we really understand it? And how can we define and set the boundaries of breaching one’s privacy?

Many law systems around the world consider privacy as one of the most important values and rights that a person is eligible for. Breaching this right might be accompanied with a penalty, which can vary from a fine, as an “easy” punishment, through administrative limitations and up to, actual, jail time – Depending on the severity of the breaching act.

But, really, how can we even define what privacy is? Of course, Law systems must create a set of “dry” rules in order to enforce the prohibition to breach it. But we, as individuals, are not bound to a certain interpretation of privacy. We come from different cultures, with different educational systems and with different points of view on the world, and therefore on privacy as well.

When would we feel that our privacy was breached? When having sex while our baby or dog or even another adult is in the room? When reading the paper in our living room while the neighbor can see us from the window? Maybe when someone is listening to us talking on the phone or peeking on us texting or “facebooking”? Even being asked types of different questions might be interpreted as a breach of one’s privacy.

We see different examples from different cultures which interpret privacy in different ways. For instance, in Germany, it is costumed to sunbathe or use the sauna naked, whether in different countries people would consider this offensive and would feel violated if another person will see them naked.

I don’t have any major conclusions on this topic but we can understand that there is no right answer. Each answer stems from different views and different interpretations which are related, maybe directly, to where we come from. Interpretation is a powerful tool and using it on such important words, values and rights, such as privacy, can have broad and varied consequences.


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