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Who collects private personal data and how to stop them – Source

Privacy—battered though it is by what Al Gore referred to as our “stalker economy” where customers become the products—is something we still apparently hold dear—at least enough that every service you sign up for offers a privacy policy.

But before diving into the disintegration of privacy and what to do about it, we must define privacy and why it’s important. William Parent suggests that privacy is control over personal information. Jeffrey Reiman says it’s important as a key “social ritual [where] the group communicates to the individual that her existence is her own,” and that it’s “a precondition of personhood.”

Privacy, defined this way, has a history long on aspiration and short on delivery. As early as 1735, Ben Franklin recognized this when he wrote, “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” In 1890, attorneys Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren said something similar when faced with the threat of a device that could take your picture on a…

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