How Privacy Got Lucky

On this fine St. Patrick’s Day, I ponder about getting lucky. No, not THAT kind of lucky. We’re all about the privacy! Some of you may think that privacy has been very unlucky indeed. But compared to what could have happened, I believe that privacy still carries a wee bit o’ the shamrock. Think about privacy as a glass at least half full. If you are inclined to be grumpy about the half-empty part, imagine that privacy is an appletini and the other half is coursing through your veins, giving you the inspiration you need to continue the good fight. If you have enough glasses of privacy, you may do something wild and wonderful to draw attention to it—look at how much press privacy is getting these days!

Before happy hour starts, I offer this list—with links—of How Privacy Got Lucky:

  • Perhaps privacy got pinched—for not wearing green—but not in a place that REALLY hurts. For example, public-privacy debate and legislation are at an all-time high. Sensitive personal information is often at the forefront of heightened protection in privacy legislation. And the rapid development of Internet-of-Things devices has put a spotlight on designing privacy into the user experience right out of the gate.
  • Privacy and security didn’t get a divorce. They have had their spats, but they sought counseling and are getting stronger than ever. We have learned not to try and “balance” one against the other but rather to optimize both. When they are working together, they are the dynamic duo. Holy NIST, Batman!
  • Data breach management practices are improving. Companies are learning that appropriate post-breach management can actually enhance corporate reputation. For those companies that garnered kudos for their practices, I tip my cap to you. Just don’t let your assets get too big for your breaches.
  • Some of us received free credit monitoring even though we weren’t victims of identity theft after all. That’s looking on the bright side!
  • For those who like to watch you watching them watching you watching them, but want to do it selectively and in private and not streamed over the Internet, there is Glass Sex. It sounds so full of transparency. And so much more high-tech than mirrors.
  • Privacy concerns were the forcing function behind some needed insight into, and political attention to, government surveillance practices. More transparency!
  • Conversely, when privacy had a little too much of the drink and took a bunch of naked selfies it then shared with a soon-to-be ex in a weak moment of beer-goggled love, legislatures started passing revenge porn laws. One complaint: These laws should not be limited to photos taken by someone else. Revenge is revenge.
  • Some existing laws just keep getting stronger. Recently we have seen amendments to COPPA, additional guidelines in Australia, and you don’t have to live in California to know that the Golden State never slows down. Privacy can offer long-lasting protection. It’s a strong finisher.  You’ll like it too!
  • Through it all, privacy retains its sense of humor. “He’s not your dad.”  Priceless!
  • Privacy brings people closer together. An entire industry has been built around supporting privacy. Privacy has provided an earnest living for many of you reading this article right now (for which I thank you). Go hug and gently squeeze a loved one who forgot to wear green today, and pay it forward.

Privacy. It’s always after me Lucky Charms!

* The views expressed herein are my own and derive from an overabundance of unrequited humor and desire to get lucky.

photo credit: liquidnight via photopin cc

Written By

Ruby Zefo, CIPM, CIPP/US


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  • John Kropf Mar 17, 2014

    Great column -- light-hearted approach mixed with some insightful observation. Perfect privacy blog for St. P's day

  • Jennifer Saunders Mar 17, 2014

    Wonderful post. Very clever and insightful, and I fully enjoyed the mix of links you chose.

  • Michael Ferguson Mar 17, 2014

    Good Irish name, Zefo. I'm sure you know that the Celts invented privacy. How else to explain the modest wearing of kilts. Another thing, Ferguson ought, rightly, to be MacFergus. In a fit of privacy awareness and to hide out from the English, it seems to have been changed. Unfortunately, our privacy was breached and we were run out of the highlands to make way for sheep.

  • Ruby Mar 17, 2014

    @Fergie: I hear you. Zefo is a completely fabricated name derived by Ellis Island geniuses who couldn't spell what is rightfully our Croatian name. If you meet another, say hi to my Zefo cousin.

  • Genet Teffera Mar 18, 2014

    A fun read! Thanks for the links.


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