Privacy, Data, Trust, and Love

The near-complete annihilation of privacy can be a terrible thing. But when it happens between two people, the result is an extraordinary reward called ‘falling in love.’ So why, then, are we seeing such an uproar about something that – under the right circumstances – we are so willing to surrender?

Perhaps the current conversation on privacy needs a refresh on the element of context. In this sense, context would include the set of limitations we put on the scope and depth with which we are willing to interact with someone.

For example, there are people with whom I will share the entirety of myself: not merely the quantitative, but also the qualitative. That’s because, for me at least, it feels good to be understood, which requires sharing information. Further, there needs to be a high level of confidence that this information will be used in a positive way, if not for me then for someone or something we both care about.

And then there are entities with whom (or with which) I share selected information. They will never fully understand me, but they may offer me something I could not easily locate or obtain for myself. (Yes, if you have black t-strap kitten heels that I like, I will happily disclose my shoe size. But I’m not telling you my secret number – the price I’m willing to pay – because that makes for too one-sided a relationship.)

Lastly, perhaps sad to say, there are those with whom I will only share misinformation. If I sense a bait-and-switch, or an attempt to capture my information under false pretenses, I am likely to provide entirely fabricated data, chuckling to myself as I fool your system. I don’t trust you because I learned that you don’t have my interests at heart, and may even be opposed to them.

And so, I may trust you with my data, my information, my heart, and even my soul. But remember, I will always be asking one question.

Will you still love me tomorrow?

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