Ownership of Data is Not Privacy

PRIVACY is often mixed up with another issue of the digital world:


For example when you register to any social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest…you agree that all the data you are sharing via these platforms are the property of the company running these platforms.

This is OWNERSHIP of DATA and not PRIVACY.
You have still the right, the ability, the freedom to share what you consider “public” data on these platforms.
For example: you are able to make a comment and avoid clicking on “like”… also when you are walking in town, you are not walking naked because you are in “public”. Same in Facebook despite all the rules about friendship, sharing and so on. Don’t forget you are walking in town…in Facebook! All you do there is PUBLIC, not private at all as the company can track all what you are doing on this platform.

The proper definition of ownership is: ownership of property may be private, collective, or common, and the property may be of objects, land/real estate, or intellectual property…The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex: one can gain, transfer, and loose ownership of property in a number of ways. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ownership)


The proper definition of privacy is: when something is private to a person, it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy partially overlaps security, which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy)

So  ways we can think about privacy in the digital era are:

How can I keep my data “private”, “only mine”, if I am subject to loose the property in so many ways (including hack, fishering, leaking…) in the digital world?
That is the way companies are now re-thinking their security strategy. They define what data are the real treasure they have to defend and they concentrate all their efforts to protect this treasure and only it. They let it go for the rest of the data. For example: no more restrictive rules for employees. Big change indeed!
Another way to think about privacy is to think about “anonymous” status.
Can I act anonymously in this world? No tracking, no name, no address…? Lot of situations in life need anonymity, not only to hide bad things. For example health data, geolocalization data…
Finally on a personal point of view you can think about privacy as a mix of “anonymity-protection of my integrity”.
You want to control the use others can make of your data like for example remixing your pictures or your name for purposes you are not agreeing with. Here the situation is similar to “walking downtown”. Keep in mind : you are acting in public when you use devices connected to the net. Same for your children and you are responsible for what they do.

Let’s see also the positive aspect of the digital era.

Knowledge is everywhere, the digital world is invading all the sectors of our society.
So warm welcome to copyleft, remix, collaboration, open data!

  • Do you know that the fashion sector (shoes, dresses, shirts etc…) is doing very very well without any patent or copyright?
  • Do you know that all these data we are sending all over the web are computed and more often for the best than for the worst .
    For example: Health sector can use anonymous human data to amplify and improve research.
    For example: Algorithms analyse your data to help you to find what you are looking for desperately in real life or through the net.
    For example: Data of contamination in Japan after Fukushima disaster were collected by a citizen’s group called “Safecast”.

Still not easy to know what to do with all these magical/diabolical digital devices we use and abuse.

Some users and among them lot of States, governmental (and Non-Governmental) organizations are pissing our PRIVACY, making the most of these connected devices to Internet.

Are we definitively powerless?

On the contrary: we are, each of us and in community, lot more powerful thanks to Internet, thanks to social media platforms.

So are you ready to enter this wonderful, better world and fight for what matters:your PRIVACY.

Yes your privacy is what matters.

  • Since Edward Snowden revealed to world numerous global surveillance programs,
  • Since the decision of the European Court of Justice in October 2015 to invalidate the “Safe Harbour Decision” about the transfer of private data from Europe to US insufficiently protected personal and business environment,
  • Since the European States have promoted Security laws which enforce restrictions to citizens’ freedom (see http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/10/28/opinion/europe-is-spying-on-you-mass-surveillance.html):

    “Governments now argue that to guarantee our security we have to sacrifice some rights.”

    It is time now to individually take measures to protect our privacy.

    What measures can be taken? 3 measures could make the difference:

    1- Multiple passwords. Not simple ones, complex ones: mixing alphabetical letters and numbers, upper and lower case. Worried about how to remember these passwords? Open a spreadsheet on your desktop, not in the cloud. One line per website/password, copy this file on a pen-drive, update it once a week or better : each time you register to a new on line service!

    2- Be selective! Some pictures don’t need public audience. When you are sharing through Internet (yes: Whatsapp is also concerned) it is like walking in a small village where everybody knows who you are, what you are doing, who you are going to meet and what bier you will order…Share consciously things that are really “public domain” and will not arm anybody around you.

    3- Your email box is your weakest point! Select your contacts or open a new account for more private contacts. Select your “subject”, be equivocal…and ENCRYPT your more sensible messages (to Banks, accountants, lawyers, administrations, family…lovers). Lot of encryption tools these days: I recommend Virtru for dummy users because no need to move to a new mailbox provider and encryption-decryption is a breeze.



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