Will Privacy Negate Freedom Online?

Posted on 03/04/2018

Privacy and freedom online

We always try and find ways of bolstering our online privacy without breaching our freedoms, but do the two negate each other? Privacy, by its nature, resides within the private sphere; that which is not public. Simply put: one’s own business and no one else’s. But does having our own privacy and security online encroach upon our freedom in the public sphere that is the internet?

Why does having a profile on a social network, or an account on an eCommerce website or service app mean that your private details become public?

One answer might be that, by registering for a website that serves as a platform to interact within the public sphere, we are consensually signing away our privacy simply for the privileges and conveniences these websites provide. For this reason, many people have stopped making purchases online and deleted their accounts on social Networks – even avoiding the use of online banking.  However, there is a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel. When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on the 25th May 2018, companies that hold/process your personal information must handle it in such a way that your personal privacy is respected.

What does respecting privacy mean?  

What you think about your own privacy counts for a hell of a lot in the GDPR. You know all those annoying cold callers? Well they’re not allowed to contact you anymore without consent. The GDPR (amongst other things) will mean a restraining order for Privacy Invaders. 

What about those who endure hours reading through terms and conditions so as not to *cough* get screwed over later? 

GDPR can’t get those lost hours back for those people who did read terms and cons, but it can safely be assumed that a lot more people will be reading them after they become shorter and more reader friendly. The fact is that our own thoughts about our privacy are finally taking priority over that of the companies we trust with our personal information, at least in the eyes of the law. Social networks, eCommerce services and apps are starting to realise the power in alerting consumers to their rights over their own privacy. Too much information in the wrong hands is dangerous; there is already a Big Brother element to being online. Having more power over the handling of your own personal information will surely help protect against fraud.

If there is extra security against fraud to be had, where has this new regulation been all my life? 

Going back to the question of whether privacy and freedom negate one another: absolutely not. The whole premise of GDPR is to provide the level of privacy that an individual wishes for. Whilst privacy, in some cases, may seem to encroach upon the freedoms of other people, it doesn’t have to affect your own. Online, the people who explore the internet with the most freedom are the ones who are most secure in their privacy. It’s time to think about the level of privacy that you seek to feel secure and comfortable, because ultimately comfort and peace of mind manifest as freedom.

If you would like to discuss the impact of GDPR on your organisation, please get in touch by calling 0203 2878 243 or emailing

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