Online Privacy vs Privacy

A quick word about the term "online privacy", or "Internet privacy".

I dislike when politicians and media talk about "online privacy". It's as if it's a specific notion that only applies to a virtual world detached from reality. Perhaps many discard its importance and translate it to "something to do with computers ?".

Almost all communications happen online these days: email, news reading, social media, paying bills, administrative stuffs, credit card payments at brick and mortar shops, CCTV, travel arrangements, text messages, etc etc. Communications that occur exclusively offline are becoming scarce.

"Online privacy" and "privacy" are virtually the same exact thing.

When politicians start talking about "online privacy" it trivialises the matter when in fact, it's privacy in general that is being discussed.

In reaction to the Charlie Hebdo attacks some are trying to reduce people's freedom of access to information. This censorship has the side-effect of making attempts to access blocked websites known to the authorities.

There's worse. Much worse.

David Cameron has proposed further restrictions on British liberties. He states that all communications must be readable by the government. The UK has already lost much privacy and freedom, this proposal takes it the next level and beyond.

Hitler's moustache with David Cameron's face in the background

Hitler's moustache with David Cameron's face in the background
This file is licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

These reactions to the attacks claim to bring more security while pretending to work on the side of freedom of speech. There one big problem with this, when you give up privacy for freedom of speech you give up both.

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