Privacy and Ownership
Without wanting everything to be free (as in both beer and in speech), or everything to be protected under exclusive rights, it is still possible to think about whether the systems we use are really helping us in achieving what we need. And that we can do something to make those systems better tools for us.
Without wanting everybody to know everything, or wanting to hide everything from everybody it is still possible to discuss the nature of privacy.
That privacy is not the place where you can be on your own without anyone knowing what you are doing, that is merely solitude. That privacy is the gift you receive from others when you are in that grey zone where you are in the public space but somewhat withdrawn from it in your own space. When we visited the Illum department store on Saturday there was a couple kissing while riding down the escalators. People looked elsewhere, or merely smiled when they saw. We gave them their privacy.
Privacy is not a place seperate from the commons, it is something right inside the commons that I can give you and you can give me. We really know that already in our hearts, otherwise we wouldn’t say “can you give me some privacy?” on occasion. It’s not ours to take, it is ours to give, asked or unasked.
Privacy and copyright are in that sense also similar to me: copyright is not an exlusive right of me on my writings to keep it from you. It is a gift from the commons to the author so that he may have enough time to gain back the money and energy he spent on creating it. If you want to exclude others, keep it in your drawer; the copyright’s equivalent of solitude in the case of privacy.