Beyond Privacy? / Par delà la vie privée ?

Totalitarian experiences that devastated the twentieth century aimed the abolition of private lives through surveillance and files keeping. To the point that the idea of production and handling of personal information became inseparable from that of invasion of privacy.

Yet, information handlings supporting interpersonal relationships cannot be reduced to this single dimension. Not only is the private portion of our lives concerned, but all their social and public components as well. Not only the right to privacy, but all human rights and freedoms!

Therefore, assessing handlings of personal information requires examining all their roles and all their implications, beyond privacy only.

Par-delà la vie privée: ce que tout juriste devrait savoir sur les applications des technologies de l’information et des communications concernant les personnes physiques

Couverture-cequetoutjuriste«Par delà la vie privée : ce que tout juriste devrait savoir sur les applications des technologies de l’information et des communications concernant les personnes physiques», Actes de la XIVe Conférence des Juristes de l’État. Cowansville, Québec: Les Éditions Yvon Blais, 2000, 133-148.


This communication organizes itself around a single message: the need to look beyond legal analysis of information technology and communications (ICT) applications involving individuals solely in terms of privacy related rights; or, in other words, the need to see that these devices operate, well beyond the scope of this concept, in a multidimensional reality, often of a complex nature. This text therefore presents facts and arguments in support of a particular approach to the relationship between law, on the one hand, and ICT, on the other. This approach is the result, as much of empirical field work than of historical and theoretical examinations. A set of means to ensure a better assessment of ICT application projects will be presented.

Living between the linesNotes

I Avoid The Word “Privacy” (And You Should Too)

About one obstacle to thinking about our relationships through information

Tablette d'écriture cunéiformeNotion addressed: Information (including personal information) and information technology play multiple growing roles in every aspect of the lives of individuals, groups and societies.

I was planning to write my own reading of the inquiry and recommendations of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on the management of personal information by Facebook. However, I too often stumbled on the words “privacy” in the documentation of the Commissioner and articles from the media and other commentators. Too often not to publish beforehand this cautionary piece.

Early in my work, I became cautious with the use of the term “privacy“. It has so many different meanings that it becomes a genuine barrier to communication. More importantly, its use has become customary whenever it comes to discussing personal information handling. So much so that it now constitutes a real obstacle to the exercise of thinking specific usages and their social roles and implications. As a result, we also observe technical, social, economical and commercial failures. (more…)

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