“All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.” Gabriel Garcia Márquez: A Life
The Easter week witnessed the death of one of our greatest authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and tomorrow we commemorate the ANZACs throughout Australia and New Zealand. This is also the second long weekend in a row meaning that, as most people have had 10 days holiday, some are likening us to the land of the Lotus eaters. And if you have been trying to work—it’s a bit like one hand clapping. I have found almost everyone I want to talk to is away. I think that includes a fair bit of media, as there is not much on our favourite topic this week. Just plenty of time for the Royals, which in itself has raised the question of private boundaries, as the Australian press took personal photos of the Royals with long-distance photo lenses. I really do have to wonder about the public interest versus privacy in this instance.
The Marquez quote is to me the essence of why privacy fascinates. The layers, the nuances and the importance for humanity to be able to live without detection is perfectly encapsulated by Marquez.
One of the articles below examines the blurry edges between the public and private lives. Omer Tene and Jules Polonetsky, CIPP/US, discuss the concept of what constitutes “creepy” behavior. The interesting aspect of this is that it changes with circumstance. Whilst it may annoy you when your airline e-mails you about hotel deals at your next destination if you are staying with your family, your reaction could be different if you were in need of accommodation. Reminds me of the story of a woman who was propositioned by a millionaire at a dinner party. Outraged, she asked, “What do you think I am?” To which he replied, “I will give you a million dollars if you spend the night with me.” She acquiesced. The millionaire replied, “Now that we have established what you are, let’s negotiate.”
Perhaps just one of the reasons we have privacy principles rather than laws is to countenance the fluidity of what privacy means to us all. Whatever that baseline is, protections and custodianship of our public, private and secret lives make being a privacy professional a joy.
Enjoy your Dawn Service, your Two Up and your ANZAC Day.
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