Pinning down a universally agreed definition for privacy is an intractable problem.

If you ask a philosophy major to define it, they will refer you to a nuanced millenia-old debate.  So, to keep it simple, at glimpse, we like the following definition:

Privacy is the ability for someone to selectively withhold information about themselves.

We’ll explain why.

Think about all the things we say to our friends but not to our bosses. We naturally withhold information about ourselves based on context. If we weren’t able to do that, then we would be living the plot of the 1997 film Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey.

(spoiler alert: he can’t tell a lie. He’s a lawyer. It’s detrimental for his career).

Now imagine a sequel: Liar Liar 2. In this film, Jim Carrey is a political dissident fighting an authoritarian government. It’s more of a dark comedy, but the lesson is the same: when we cannot control the information we share, the consequences can cause harm.

We ought to be able to decide when and where we share information about ourselves, right? This is because we have autonomy over our own private thoughts. Afterall, cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am (not I think therefore you get to know everything about me without my consent).

But, today, we don’t decide or control what information we share. Sure, we may be given access to ‘privacy settings’ or toggles, but time and again these are shown to be a head fake.

Here's a recent example: in September 2019 almost the same week that Google claimed to ‘building a more private web’ it was revealed that it is also using workarounds to subvert data protection regulations.  It is incompatible for Google to claim they provide privacy while they continue to expose and share you data.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have detailed, selective control of what information you share, you don’t have privacy.

We are working on a technical solution to reimagine how data is shared online. We are making sure that none of your data is leaked when digital advertisers show you ads - protecting your privacy. To learn more about Glimpse Protocol …

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