Privacy Is About Control, Not Anonymity

Seth Godin says you don’t really care about privacy:

“If you cared about privacy you wouldn’t have a credit card, because, after all, they know everything you spend money on. And you wouldn’t use the phone, because somewhere, there’s a computer scanning what you say.

What most of us care about is being surprised. You don’t want the credit card company to track where you’re staying and whether you’re buying flowers for someone you’re not even married to–and then send you a free coupon for STD testing…”

I think Seth missed the mark with this one. I don’t care if my credit card company, Amazon, Google or Facebook have my information. I don’t even care if they use it to target ads at me. You know what I want?


I want control over how companies use my information. I want to know that if I post a photo of someone online, and set it so that only my friends can see it, then ONLY my friends will see it (though I still maintain that if you’re not ok with everyone seeing your photos, then don’t post them online at all).

I don’t need to put on a tin foil hat and go off the grid in order to care about privacy. I just need confidence that I can control how my information is used, and the means to do so.

How about you?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.