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Price wins chocolate fish

By Steven | May 18, 2010

In a recent speech Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer laid down a challenge: define “privacy”. He promised a chocolate fish for the best entry. His view is that privacy defies definition. I proved him wrong. This is the correct definition of privacy:

Privacy is what people believe they have lost when they complain about their privacy being infringed.

I am delighted to announce that I won the competition. Now that I have consumed the prize, I can safely confess that I thought this entry was better:

I have a definition of “Privacy” for you, unfortunately because of privacy laws I am unable to divulge it to you.

As you’ll see, many entrants made the mistake of making a serious attempt to define privacy, and most of them submitted definitions revolving around control of personal information. What this misses is privacy invasions that consist of invading private spaces or paying unwanted attention. On a serious level, I think my colleague Dr Nicole Moreham has come up with a pretty robust and workable definition of privacy as a state of desired inaccessibility. But happily for me, she didn’t enter.

Topics: Privacy tort | No Comments »


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