Security/identity · 2008-06-29

The privacy imperative

Lately I’ve been discussing three human tendencies we should take into account in designing identity-enabled systems: new-relationship energy, the efficiency imperative, and the self-revelation imperative. I’ve put aside the privacy imperative (essentially the opposite of self-revelation) because it seems more interesting to discuss challenges to privacy by examining the forces working against it.

I just got a handy reminder that whatever privacy imperative we have is, at least in part, learned rather than innate. In going through a storage-roomful of boxes to stock some new bookcases, I came across a calligraphy instruction book that’s more than 20 years old. I’d gotten it second-hand, and its previous owner had claimed ownership of the book and practiced his italic in one swoop by writing his name and his social security number inside the front cover…