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Privacy (from Latin privatus 'separated from the rest, deprived of something, esp. office,
participation in the government', from privo 'to deprive') is the ability of an individual or
group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal
themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ
among cultures and individuals, but share basic common themes. Privacy is sometimes
related to anonymity, the wish to remain unnoticed or unidentified in the public realm.
When something is private to a person, it usually means there is something within them
that is considered inherently special or personally sensitive. The degree to which private
information is exposed therefore depends on how the public will receive this information,
which differs between places and over time. Privacy is broader than security and includes
the concepts of appropriate use and protection of information.

The right against unsanctioned invasion of privacy by the government, corporations or

individuals is part of many countries' privacy laws, and in some cases, constitutions.
Almost all countries have laws which in some way limit privacy; an example of this
would be law concerning taxation, which normally require the sharing of information
about personal income or earnings. In some countries individual privacy may conflict
with freedom of speech laws and some laws may require public disclosure of information
which would be considered private in other countries and cultures. Privacy may be
voluntarily sacrificed, normally in exchange for perceived benefits and very often with
specific dangers and losses, although this is a very strategic view of human relationships.
Academics who are economists, evolutionary theorists, and research psychologists
describe revealing privacy as a 'voluntary sacrifice', where sweepstakes or competitions
are involved. In the business world, a person may give personal details (often for
advertising purposes) in order to enter a gamble of winning a prize. Information which is
voluntarily shared and is later stolen or misused can lead to identity theft.

The concept of privacy is most often associated with Western culture, English and North
American in particular. According to some researchers, the concept of privacy sets
Anglo-American culture apart even from other Western European cultures such as French
or Italian. The concept is not universal and remained virtually unknown in some cultures
until recent times. A word "privacy" is sometimes regarded as untranslatableby linguists.
Many languages lack a specific word for "privacy". Such languages either use a complex
description to translate the term (such as Russian combine meaning of уединение -
solitude, секретность - secrecy, and частная жизнь - private life) or borrow English
"privacy" (as Indonesian Privasi or Italian la privacy).
Privacy and technology

Advertisement for dial telephone service available to delegates to the 1912 Republican
convention in Chicago. A major selling point of dial telephone service was that it was
"secret", in that no operator was required to connect the call.

As technology has advanced, the way in which privacy is protected and violated has
changed with it. In the case of some technologies, such as the printing press or the
Internet, the increased ability to share information can lead to new ways in which privacy
can be breached. It is generally agreed that the first publication advocating privacy in the
United States was the article by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, The Right to
Privacy, 4 Harvard L.R. 193 (1890), that was written largely in response to the increase
in newspapers and photographs made possible by printing technologies.

New technologies can also create new ways to gather private information. For example,
in the U.S. it was thought that heat sensors intended to be used to find marijuana growing
operations would be acceptable. However in 2001 in Kyllo v. United States (533 U.S. 27)
it was decided that thermal imaging devices that can reveal previously unknown
information without a warrant does indeed constitute a violation of privacy.

Generally the increased ability to gather and send information has had negative
implications for retaining privacy. As large scale information systems become more
common, there is so much information stored in many databases worldwide that an
individual has no way of knowing of or controlling all of the information about
themselves that others may have access to. Such information could potentially be sold to
others for profit and/or be used for purposes not known to the individual of which the
information is about. The concept of information privacy has become more significant as
more systems controlling more information appear. Also the consequences of a violation
of privacy can be more severe. Privacy law in many countries has had to adapt to changes
in technology in order to address these issues and maintain people's rights to privacy as
they see fit. But the existing global privacy rights framework has also been criticized as
incoherent and inefficient. Proposals such as the APEC Privacy Framework have
emerged which set out to provide the first comprehensive legal framework on the issue of
global data privacy.

Privacy and the Internet

The Internet has brought new concerns about privacy in an age where computers can
permanently store records of everything: "where every online photo, status update,
Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever," writes law professor
and author Jeffrey Rosen.

This currently has an effect on employment. Microsoft reports that 75 percent of U.S.
recruiters and human-resource professionals now do online research about candidates,
often using information provided by search engines, social-networking sites, photo/video-
sharing sites, personal web sites and blogs, and Twitter. They also report that 70 percent
of U.S. recruiters have rejected candidates based on internet information. This has created
a need by many to control various online privacy settings in addition to controlling their
online reputations, both of which have led to legal suits against various sites and

The ability to do online inquiries about individuals has expanded dramatically over the
last decade. Facebook for example, as of July 2010, was the largest social-networking
site, with nearly 500 million members, or 22 percent of all Internet users, who upload
over 25 billion pieces of content each month. Twitter has more than 100 million
registered users. The Library of Congress recently announced that it will be acquiring —
and permanently storing — the entire archive of public Twitter posts since 2006, reports

Privacy protection
Free market versus consumer protection approaches

Approaches to privacy can, broadly, be divided into two categories: free market, and
consumer protection. In a free market approach, commercial entities are largely allowed
to do what they wish, with the expectation that consumers will choose to do business with
corporations that respect their privacy to a desired degree. If some companies are not
sufficiently respectful of privacy, they will lose market share. Such an approach may be
limited by lack of competition in a market, by enterprises not offering privacy options
favorable to the user, or by lack of information about actual privacy practices. Claims of
privacy protection made by companies may be difficult for consumers to verify, except
when they have already been violated.

In a consumer protection approach, in contrast, it is acknowledged that individuals may

not have the time or knowledge to make informed choices, or may not have reasonable
alternatives available. In support of this view, Jensen and Potts showed that most privacy
policies are above the reading level of the average person .Therefore, this approach
advocates greater government definition and enforcement of privacy standards.

Privacy law

Privacy law is the area of law concerning the protecting and preserving of privacy rights
of individuals. While there is no universally accepted privacy law among all countries,
some organizations promote certain concepts be enforced by individual countries. For
example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 12, states:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home
or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has
the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

For Europe, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right
to respect for private and family life, one's home and correspondence. The European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has developed a large body of jurisprudence
defining this fundamental right to privacy. The European Union requires all member
states to legislate to ensure that citizens have a right to privacy, through directives such as
the 1995 Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data. It is regulated in the
United Kingdom by the Data Protection Act 1998 and in France data protection is also
monitored by the CNIL, a governmental body which must authorize legislation
concerning privacy before them being enacted.

In the United Kingdom, it is not possible to bring an action for invasion of privacy. An
action may be brought under another tort (usually breach of confidence) and privacy must
then be considered under EC law. In the UK, it is sometimes a defense that disclosure of
private information was in the public interest.

Concerning privacy laws of the United States, privacy is not guaranteed per se by the
Constitution of the United States. The Supreme Court of the United States has found that
other guarantees have "penumbras" that implicitly grant a right to privacy against
government intrusion, for example in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). In the United
States, the right of freedom of speech granted in the First Amendment has limited the
effects of lawsuits for breach of privacy. Privacy is regulated in the U.S. by the Privacy
Act of 1974, and various state laws.

Canadian privacy law is governed federally by multiple acts, including the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Privacy Act (Canada). Mostly this legislation
concerns privacy infringement by government organizations. Data privacy was first
addressed with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and
provincial-level legislation also exists to account for more specific cases personal privacy
protection against commercial organizations.
In Australia there is the Privacy Act 1988. Privacy sector provisions of the Act apply to
private sector organisations with a link to Australia, including: 1. individuals who collect,
use or disclose personal information in the course of a business. For example, a sole
trader's business activities will be regulated (unless it's a small business), but information
gathered outside business activities won't be; 2. bodies corporate; and 3. partnerships,
unincorporated associations and trusts - any act or practice of a partner, committee
member or trustee is attributed to the organisation. Organisations outside Australia must
comply with the provisions in some circumstances. Sending information out of Australia
is also regulated.

Particularly in EU member states, there are (as explained) comprehensive regulations for
data protection. However, shows that there is a lack of enfocement of data protection
acts, i.e., there exists law but no institution can or feels responsible to controle the parties
involved, and to enforce law.

Privacy on the Internet

There are many means to protect one's privacy on the internet. For example e-mails can
be encrypted and anonymizing proxies or anonymizing networks like I2P and Tor can be
used in order to prevent the internet service providers from knowing which sites one
visits and with whom one communicates.