Privacy rights under attack

I think we can all agree about the fact that privacy has become an increasingly fluid concept with the advent of social networks.

Yes, you can choose what you post, but your family and friends don’t usually have a say in it (or don’t even think about possible repercussions). Wait – as a matter of fact, have YOU thought about potential consequences of sharing your life online?

BBC News reports that Dr Kieron O’Hara, a senior research fellow in Electronic and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, thinks we have only ourselves to blame for the shrinking of the concept of “reasonable expectation of privacy”, heavily used in privacy laws.

“When our reasonable expectations diminish, as they have, by necessity our legal protection diminishes,” he says. When, in the past, you had an embarrassing or compromising photo from a party with friends, it was reasonable to expect that it wouldn’t end up in the hands of someone outside that circle of friends.

Now, it can be assumed that there is a great probability it could end up on the Internet and, consequently, be seen by complete strangers. How will you then able to prove in a court of law that the publication of said picture in – let’s say – a newspaper or magazine constitutes a breach of your privacy?

What we’re witnessing is only the beginning of the changes that will affect the concept of privacy. People in the UK have become used to be monitored with CCTV for the great part of their day – there can be no talk of privacy during that time. Will our ignoring of the privacy question online also lead to disregarding the issue in real life and failing to protect ourselves?

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