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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Sunday, October 25, 2020
 

Privacy through Seclusion

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
6:50 am


Privacy
: "a:the quality or state of being apart from company or observation:
SECLUSION b:freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one’s right to privacy>"

In his Network World article today,

Dave Kearns
drew attention to a blog by
Timothy Grayson
reviewing a new Canadian court ruling "that inclusion of marketing materials
in a statement to a client/customer constitutes ‘secondary marketing’ and is
a privacy breach." Wow! So my bank’s stuffing an advertising flier inside
the envelope that delivers my bank statement is an attack on my privacy? I hadn’t
thought of it that way. I suppose I’ve considered the flier to be a waste of
paper and ink as I threw it in the garbage without glancing at what it said,
but I hadn’t considered that my privacy was being compromised.



Somehow,
this made me think of high school math class. In the hippie culture of the 1960’s,
it was popular to advocate a "tune in, drop out" culture. My high
school math teacher, Mr. Kissler, teetered on the edge of that philosophy. During
one "math class" he told of a young runaway girl he befriended. She
was convinced that she wanted to drop out of normal society and live off the
land – at least until Mr. Kissler demonstrated how to kill, skin and butcher
cuddly bunny rabbits for food.
Now doesn’t that make you want to sell your house and move to the rain forest?

My advice for someone who doesn’t want to endure the bloody reality of animals
being killed for food — don’t expect to live off the land. Advice for people
who don’t want fliers in their bank statements? Change banks or stuff your money
in a mattress. Drop out of connected society.

I find it interesting that the first of

Merriam-Webster’s
definitions of privacy
suggests "Seclusion" as a synonym for "Privacy." To the
extent one chooses seclusion from society as a lifestyle and becomes cut off
from interaction with other humans and institutions, he or she can achieve true
privacy. For centures, hermits have withdrawn from society and lived in caves.

Become a virtual hermit if you wish. But please don’t expect complete freedom
from unauthorized intrusion (the second definition) if you choose to receive
bank statements, use the Internet or function as a non-hermit in the

Participation Age
. Throw those pesky instrusive fliers in the trash and get on with life.

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