Further thoughts on the Privacy Principle: the difference between privacy and secrecy
I think the dilemma over ‘privacy’ is that there is no dilemma. It is caused by our confusion between privacy and secrecy; we mix them up as if there are the same thing. They are not. Perpetrators covet secrecy; victims deserve privacy. Secrecy is used to try to cloak something either morally or legally wrong; privacy is a natural right for legal behaviour. I believe in privacy; I do not believe in secrecy. That’s why Ryan Giggs did not deserve his injunction: he was trying to keep something secret. That is why Jaycee Lee Dugard deserves privacy: she is a victim who did nothing to cause her ordeal.
Considered in this light, it can be applied to other issues, such as the internet. Phorm, if you can remember it, tried to keep its inner workings secret; and BT trialled Phorm on a selection of its users secretly. There were both in the wrong. The BT customers (and the customers similarly secretly monitored by TalkTalk) did nothing: they deserve their privacy.
As soon as anyone tries to keep something secret rather than private, then you should question the motives and the content. ACTA, anyone?