Big Data Troves Stay Forbidden to Social Scientists – NYTimes.com
Another interesting article on the perennially fascinating complexity that is privacy. Sometimes, I think that the idea of privacy, especially the American one, resembles the 19th century notion of nature, a notion that today can be thought of as cartoon simplicity that confuses more than it helps, and that perpetuates a belief in bounded objects when in fact there is little that is not always in flux. Even death, life, is better understood as an ecological process, not a state leading to being or nothingness. To articulate privacy, we need to start with the recognition that it’s a process, and not really a contract, though that can happen. But the step into this process is for most people happening with blinding speed, and only retrospectively, and with some horror, do so many realize that the private words and acts and pictures they posted to share with friend if anyone are now part of a very public–globally and perpetually public–narrative that haunts the once-private individual. Today, the confession spoken in privacy and otherworldly listening under the assurance of absolute boundedness more accurately resembles the shameful secret whispered far and wide by the reeds growing from the muddy hole Midas shouted into, falsely believing that his isolation actually meant invisibility and anonymity.