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Part 1 Getting Your Head Around Privacy

Chapter 1 Technology Evolution, People, and Privacy

It isn't all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.

—Gene Roddenberry

This chapter takes a look at the history of information, technology, beneficiaries of that technology, and their relationship to data governance development over time.

Innovation in business models, technology capabilities, and the changing relationships in the ownership and accessibility to data has resulted in a fundamental shift in size and complexity of data governance systems. Additionally, the increasing trend where collective numbers of individual consumers actually drive information technology, also known as consumerization of information technology (IT), adds yet more complexity to business relationships, fiduciary duties toward data about people, and underlying system requirements.[1] In short, this chapter introduces the context of informational privacy evolution and its relationship to new, shiny, and complex things.

Complexity—in requirements, systems, and data uses—has led to increasingly sophisticated personal data management and ethical issues, the dawning of the personal information service economy, and privacy engineering as a business-critical and customer satisfaction imperative and necessity. This book will unpacked that complexity and then examine how technology and people have interacted and how this interaction has led to data privacy concerns and requirements.

The Relationship Between Information Technology Innovation and Privacy

Throughout history, one can correlate innovation and the use of information technologies to pivotal moments in the history of privacy. In fact, there are many examples where technology either directly or indirectly impacts the sharing of personal details.

Take, as an example, the Gutenberg press and the invention of movable type. The development of the printing press and movable type not only directly led to the emergence of inexpensive and easily transportable books but also contributed to the development of the notion of personal space, privacy, and individual rights, as noted in Karmaks “History of Print”: “[Print] encouraged the pursuit of personal privacy. Less expensive and more portable books lent themselves to solitary and silent reading. This orientation to privacy was part of an emphasis on individual rights and freedoms that print helped to develop.”[2]

Then in the19th century, technology took privacy in another direction. The book The Devil in the White City [3]describes another time where movement and communication, facilitated by rail travel, inexpensive paper and writing implements, and increasing literacy, also added to the mass documentation and sharing of everyday life— from grocery lists to documented invention notebooks to planning for grand world fairs.

This documentation of personal life created additional rights and obligations to share that information in culturally acceptable ways. So much temporal information also helped to piece together the lives of those living in that period of explosive innovation and growth in a manner never before available to historians or anthropologists. One wonders, will we feel the same about our old MySpace postings throughout time?

Another example (also in the late 1800s) of innovation of information technology that resulted in a pivotal privacy moment was the invention of the camera—or more precisely, rolled film. In 1888, George Eastman invented film that could be put on a spool, preloaded in easy-to-handle cameras, and sold much like today's disposable cameras.[4] The technical innovation of this new film and packaging allowed for cameras to become more portable

(or mobile) and thus allowed more people access to becoming “Kodakers” or photographers. These technical advances widened the range of subject matter available to the photographers to include people who did not necessarily desire their behavior to be captured on film.[5]

Two years later, prominently citing the example of photography as technology capable of intrusion upon individual space and publicity, Warren and Brandies wrote an article that first articulated the right to privacy as a matter of US jurisprudence.[6]Note, the Warren and Brandies article, “The Right to Privacy,” was not the first articulation of privacy rights; in fact, one can go back to biblical times to find discussions of substantive privacy.

By Jay Cline, President of privacy consulting firm MPC

The inventions of the camera, database, and internet browser gave rise to modern Western ideas about privacy. But the seeds of privacy were planted in world cultures and religions long before these technological innovations.

Perhaps the first privacy-enhancing technology was the fig leaves of Adam and Eve, the first couple of the Jewish, Christian, and islamic faiths. in genesis 3:7, the pair implemented a bodily privacy control: “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron.”

in genesis 9:23, after several generations had passed, the value of bodily privacy had become a broader social objective people helped one another accomplish. This was apparent when noah's sons discovered him drunk and unclothed in his tent: “Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness.”[7]

This respect for bodily privacy expanded within Jewish culture to encompass all private activity, even in the public space. you could harm someone if you viewed their private affairs without their awareness. According to Rabbi david golinkin, author of The Right to Privacy in Judaism,

[8] the Talmud contains two teachings on this topic:

The Mishnah in Bava Batra 3:7 states: “in a common courtyard, a person should not open a door opposite a door and a window opposite a window.”

The Rema adds in the Shulhan Arukh (Hoshen Mishpat 154:7) that it is forbidden to stand at your window and look into your neighbor's courtyard, “lest he harm him by looking.”

The Book of Proverbs, a collection of wisdom of right living prevalent in the ancient Jewish culture, contains three verses praising the value of confidentiality:

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” (11:13)

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (17:9)

“Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another's secret.” (25:9)

The Christian scriptures didn't highlight the concept of privacy. But Mohammed, living 600 years after the time of Jesus, continued the Jewish respect for private affairs. Abdul Raman Saad, author of “information Privacy and data Protection:

A Proposed Model for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” identified the following privacyfriendly verses in the Quran:

“o ye who believe! enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly). if ye find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and god knows well all that ye do.” (An-nur: 27–28) (24:27–28)[9]

“o ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? nay, ye would abhor it. . . . But fear god: For god is oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat: 12) (49:12)[10]

As Christianity matured, its high regard for confidentiality—as an expression of obeying the biblical commandment to not bear false witness against a neighbor— became more evident. Chapter 2477 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church[11] states:

“Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

—of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

—of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

—of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.”

it could well be that it was these ancient cultural foundations, and not primarily the rise of technology, that led delegates to the united nations in 1947 to embed a right to information privacy in section 12 of the universal declaration of Human Rights: “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”[12]

interestingly, these seeds of privacy found in the monotheistic faiths did not grow in the same way in the East. The Mandarin word for privacy—yin si—generally translates as “shameful secret.” According to lu yao-Huai, a professor at Central South university in Changa City, a person asserting a need to withhold personal information could easily be seen as selfish or antisocial. “generally speaking, privacy perhaps remains a largely foreign concept for many Chinese people,” she wrote in “Privacy and data Privacy issues in Contemporary China.”[13]

Similarly, in their article “Privacy Protection in Japan: Cultural influence on the universal value,” yohko orito and Kiyoshi Murata, professors at Ehime and Meiji universities, respectively, explain that Japanese citizens may not share the European view that privacy is an intrinsic right. “[i]nsistence on the right to privacy as the 'right to be let alone' indicates a lack of cooperativeness as well as an inability to communicate with others,” they wrote.[14]

in related research, Masahiko Mizutani, professor at Kyoto university, and dartmouth professors James dorsey and James Moor stated, “[T]here is no word for privacy in the traditional Japanese language; modern Japanese speakers have adopted the English word, which they pronounce puraibashi.”


In the late 1960s, there were many concerns that governments had access to massive stores of personal information in easily accessible formats. The US government's use of databases in what was then the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in particular, led to the first articulation of the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs). The FIPPs, which will be discussed in more detail in later chapters, are widely considered the foundation of most data privacy laws and regulations.

We are at another pivotal privacy moment given the ongoing and ever accelerating pace of information technology innovation and consumerization. This acceleration is being driven by market demand—individuals who want new and different functionality from technology and uses of information—and market creation—enterprises and governments attempting to capitalize on new and expanded business models. The time for privacy engineering has arrived as a necessary component to constructing systems, products, processes, and applications that involve personal information. In today's world, systems' products, processes, and applications that involve personal information must be thought of as personal information or privacy “ecosystems” and like any ecosystems must be treated in a certain way to not only exist, but also to grown, thrive, and flourish.

To better understand this moment and the precipice we stand on, it is worth taking a few steps back and reviewing the history of information technology through a history of the network.

  • [1] One of the first-known uses of the term consumerization to describe the trend of consumer to business technological advancement is in the early 2000s. See David Moschella, Doug Neal, John Taylor, and Piet Opperman, Consumerization of Information Technology. Leading Edge Forum, 2004.
  • [2] “Printing: History and Development.” print.html. Copyright © 1994-99 Jones International and Jones Digital Century. All rights reserved.
  • [3] Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City. New York: Vintage Books, 2003.
  • [4]
  • [5] As discussed in later chapters, placing value on data, reputation, and brand creates incentive for privacy preservation and assigns appropriate weight and value on technology that would escalate or diminish that value.
  • [6] Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, “The Right To Privacy,” Harvard Law Review, 4, no. 193 (1890) right%20to%20privacy.pdf
  • [7]
  • [8] “The Right to Privacy in Judaism,” David Golinkin, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Issues/Privacy/A_Responsum.shtml.

  • [9] Information Privacy and Data Protection A Proposed Model for the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Raman Saad, Abdul Raman Saad & Associates, Malaysia, 1981, page 3.
  • [10] “Information Privacy and Data Protection A Proposed Model for the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Raman Saad, Abdul Raman Saad & Associates, Malaysia, 1981, page 29.”
  • [11] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Citta del Vaticano,, 1993.
  • [12]
  • [13] Privacy and Data Privacy Issues in Contemporary China, Lü Yao-Huai, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2005.
  • [14] Privacy Protection in Japan: Cultural Influence on the Universal Value, Yohko Orito and Kiyoshi Murata, htm_papers/52Orito,%20Yohko.htm
  • [15] The internet and Japanese conception of privacy, Masahiko Mizutani, James Dorsey, James H.

    Moore, Journal Ethics and Information Technology, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2004, pages 121-128.

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