got privacy?  Musings on the state of Privacy in a connected world.
 
A man drives out of his own driveway and drives into a post.  This story probably wouldn't even make the local paper unless it was a slow news day, but because the man in this particular situation was Tiger Woods, this has been front page news on both sides of the Atlantic.

What reasonable expectation can celebrities have to privacy?  What right to privacy should celebrities reasonably expect, in circumstances where they are involved in minor incidents that the rest of us would not expect to of real interest.

As of this afternoon, Tiger has said that he won't be playing any more golf tournaments until 2010.  I'm sure that he doesn't need the money, but unfortunately, this is likely to fan the flames even further.

So - what expectations of privacy should anyone be able to expect in a situation like this.  Have celebrities, by their very status, given up any expectation of privacy in any circle of life?  It's interesting to ponder whether there is a sliding scale of privacy which is inversely proportional to how famous (or rich?) someone is. 

To me - that seems to be an equivalent of (Security Through Obscurity) (call it Privacy Through Obscurity) which doesn't really sit very well.  If we really want privacy to be protected we need to make sure that it is actively defended, rather than gradually eroded as someone becomes more "interesting".
 
 
Twitter has recently rolled-out a new feature - the ability to create sub-groupings of people that you follow, and share them with other users.  This has a number of useful benefits, including the ability to be able to group people into certain subject areas (for example, you might have a list of people that you work with, and another one for friends outside work).

Let's start with the good privacy feature that has been build into the current version of lists - the ability to mark lists private or public.  This is a sensible idea and has been implemented in a way that is easy to use (although we would prefer it if the default was for lists to be private rather than public - but this does seem a little like splitting hairs!)

Unfortuntely - the way that the lists have been set up currently are open to a number of forms of abuse.  The primary reason for this is because a user does not have to authorize being added to a list.  i expect that this is a useful (and necessary) feature for the top-ranked users, who could be added to hundreds or thousands of lists and would not want to have to accept every single request to add them.

On the other hand - this does mean that people can add you to lists without your permissions - and some of the following could occur:

1.  You are added to a list that gives away some information which you didn't want shared (e.g. parents of XYZ Middle School) - this could be significant information leakage, dependent on which lists you are added to.
2.  You are added to a list that isn't relevant to you (not so bad)
3.  You are added to a list maliciously or acciedentally that is damaging to your reputation (e.g. Registered Sex Offenders)

There needs to be a trade-off here.  On one hand, we could subject everyone to "list spam" and render the feature next to useless.  On the other hand, there could / should be some better tools to manage what lists you are on, and to remove yourself.

Although lists "follow" you in the same way as people do - you can't seem to block the list, just the person who created the list.

It's a brave new world out there.  Would be interested to hear others experiences and thoughts on this.
 
 
Does someone's right to privacy end once they are dead?  In the US, we do not have a constitutional right to privacy in the same way that Europeans do (yet!), but explicit provisions in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountabilty Act) maintain that information about an indivudual should be maintained as private after their death, but other regulations such as the Freedom of Information Act may conflict in certain situations, in addition to free speech rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

In the EU, the right to personal privacy explicitly survives death

Some interesting links around this subject can be found at:

Is there privacy after death?
Privacy after death debated.

Some more thoughts on this topic from Rebecca Herold (@privacyprof) who had written a couple of thought pieces around this topic here and here