Too often it's described in broad statements. Data privacy is about respect. Data privacy is about human rights. Data privacy is about ensuring trust. Data privacy is about safety.
“We say ‘privacy’ a lot, but we lack any coherent, systematic sense of what that would mean, or even quite what we’re trying to achieve, and there are lots of unresolved questions. We are confused.”
Some of this is unavoidable, as privacy is multifaceted, involves complex systems, deeply subjective and personal, and a space with nuanced and competing business interests.
Usually people say this in relation to the positive impacts of data—how data can be refined, cleaned, and transformed into increasingly valuable products, similar to how crude oil can be refined to gasoline, and naphtha to plastics.
Just like we see oil drilling accidents, poisoning, and pollution in the environmental space, we see recurring data breaches, doxxing (even accidental), and incorrect life-altering automated decisions. And similar to how in the we have environmental protection laws like the Clean Air Act and regulators like the US Environmental Protection Agency, we’ve evolved a set of data protection laws like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and regulators like the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC)