My Favorite Privacy Quotes – A Top Ten Countdown

As part of National Privacy week I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes about privacy. Hopefully they will get you thinking about privacy, if you weren’t before, and spark some conversation.

10 . Our work to improve privacy continues today. – Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook

I don’t think I really have to comment on this one, its just amusing.

9 .Law-abiding citizens value privacy. Terrorists require invisibility. The two are not the same, and they should not be confused. ~ Richard Perle

According to Wikipedia – “Richard Norman Perle is an American political advisor and lobbyist who worked for the Reagan administration as an assistant Secretary of Defense and worked on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004. He was Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2003 under the Bush Administration.”

8. The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable. -Anon., U. S. Privacy Study Commission, 1977

If we ignore small gradual erosions to privacy, especially in the name of convenience or safety, we risk a much larger overall loss that we aren’t aware of until its too late.

7. Every CEO of a social network should be required to use the default privacy settings for all of their accounts on the service. – Anil Dash


6. It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. – Ben Franklin

Its a great reminder. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and wanting answers, especially in regard to privacy.

5. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. – Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

Oh really? I do all sorts of things I don’t want anyone to know about, nothing crazy or illegal, but personal and private. I don’t want those things  broadcast. Thanks.

4. You already have zero privacy. Get over it. –  Scott G. McNealy CEO of Sun Microsystems Inc

This was said in 1999, yes, really.

3. No matter how many times a privileged straight white male technology executive pronounces the death of privacy, Privacy Is Not Dead. People of all ages care deeply about privacy. And they care just as much about privacy online as they do offlineMaking Sense of Privacy and Publicity

Privacy doesn’t mean the same to everyone and the end of it will affect people of different social and economic classes differently.

2. Once conversations that should be private are undertaken in a public forum, they become theater – meant for the onlookers more than the participants. – Are we surrendering our privacy too easily?

This is fascinating to me. The process of being watched changes how we behave both offline and online. Just as you question the reality of reality tv so should you consider the validity of statements and actions carried out in a public forum where the  participant knows there is an audience.

1.  Just because something is publicly accessible does not mean that people want it to be publicized. – “Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity

This is hands down my favorite privacy quote.  There is a huge difference between something happening in public and it being publicized. If you’re not keeping up with what danah boyd says about privacy you should be. She has a firm understanding of the nuances of online privacy and she explains them clearly so anyone can understand.

Image used courtesy of a creative commons license by practicalowl on fllickr

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18 thoughts on “My Favorite Privacy Quotes – A Top Ten Countdown

  1. Great post. Privacy is more important than ever because it is in short supply. Your quote #7 should be posted on every status in every form of social media. And your #1 provides a fine distinction in the fight to defend our privacy. Thanks! I think I’ve found a new favorite blog!


  2. Thank you very much for your great post. I’ve come back to it several times to re-read your quotes, as they provide such different perspective on the issue. I also liked your observation, “There is a huge difference between something happening in public and it being publicized.” I’ll be on the lookout for that book. You inspired me to blog on it for our library’s blog too.

    I’ll also be linking to your blog, if that is OK.
    Thanks again.


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