The new meaning of privacy

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Privacy doesn’t mean private any more.

Private used to mean you didn’t have access to something. We denied you access to certain information.

Think about today, this world for a second. We say we want privacy. Then we hand over all of our information to app makes, to devices, to the world to see in our social feeds.

This occurred to me as I watched the early adopted gush over Amazon’s new Echo speaker/interface, the primary purpose of which is to listen to you and respond when you ask it something… which in turn means that it’s surveilling you ALL THE TIME.


This is a device… connected to a corporation that supposedly people mistrust… listening to every word you say and shipping it back to a server farm in the cloud.

So when we say privacy, we don’t mean actual privacy. We mean something else.

Maybe we mean using the data we give only for what we believe to be its intended purpose.

Maybe we mean simply not misusing our data, or not using our data against us.

Whatever we mean, we don’t mean private in the sense of “I don’t want to give you my data” and we haven’t meant that in some time.

Food for thought as you consider how to integrate the new meaning of privacy into your marketing: the more private you are as a company, the less trustworthy you are. The less private you are as a company about what you do with customers’ data, the more trustworthy you are. Take this into account when you’re talking about privacy as a company or brand!

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4 responses to “The new meaning of privacy”

  1. This thing is just an order taker, and it’s about as cool as the Fire Phone.

  2. I think Jeff Jarvis said it best when he said, “No one really cares about privacy, they just care about not being surprised.”

  3. I think it’s a play to boost Amazon Music and audiobook sales.

    1. Oh, it’s a giant money vacuum, no doubt!

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