How do people use privacy

On the importance of privacy

Young, old, women, men - they are all social beings. This means that they live and work with others: with their families, with neighbors or with work colleagues. In this coexistence there are degrees of public and private. How private and unobserved you feel has an impact on your behavior.

In the daily social interaction with different people you exchange ideas, tell private experiences, about hobbies, plans or worries. This information, which one reveals about oneself, is necessary and important because in this way one can learn from others and develop oneself further. But everyone also has secrets that he or she does not want to entrust to others or perhaps only to close friends, family or partner. And even if they are not actually secrets, you often want certain information to be inaccessible to others, because what is private and what is public should remain a self-determined decision. This is called the right to self-determination.

There is no hard line between what is public and what is private. That changes from generation to generation. The “Generation Internet”, some also speak of the “Generation Facebook”, carries more of their lives into the net public than previous generations did. Whether this is a good development and how far it will go remains to be seen. Only one thing is clear: the big US Internet industry thrives on the fact that young people carry more of their lives in public than older people used to do. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and others make billions of dollars off the fact that many people do not place special value on their own data.

But the question of how much you reveal about yourself is not only important for each and every one of you, but also for the society in which you live. If everyone knew everything about each other, it would be unbearable, no one would feel comfortable in their own skin anymore, everyone would feel observed in the end. In Germany there has been twice the situation so far that the state or society wanted to know everything about everyone: with the National Socialists in the Third Reich and with the Stasi in the GDR. Both systems were inhuman.

So does data protection law only exist to protect people's right to self-determination? No. Data protection is even more important. He also wants to ensure freedom. How so? Because this is limited when data about people is constantly collected and evaluated. The feeling of being watched can, for example, lead to you behaving differently than you would otherwise. So you give up some freedom to act independently. Federal President Joachim Gauck formulated this in July 2013 in connection with the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden: “The fear that our phone calls or emails would be recorded and stored by foreign intelligence services restricts the feeling of freedom - and there is therefore the risk that the Freedom in itself is damaged. ... We are a democratic constitutional state in which fundamental rights apply. Freedom is one of these basic rights. "

Is it true that data protection is also important for democracy? Yes. People who - because they believe they are being observed - behave differently from what they would otherwise do, are not determined by themselves, but by others. But a democracy needs self-determined people. Because only those who can determine for themselves what he or she considers right or wrong can also take responsibility for it. There is therefore no living democracy without data protection and the right to privacy.

And what is data protection supposed to prevent in the end? Anyone who has personal data knows a lot about them. But knowledge is - you learn that at school and in life - POWER. That is why there is also a DATA POWER. It is all the greater, the more data, e.g. commercial enterprises, but also the state of people have. Data power then extends to individuals and ultimately to society as a whole. Data protection wants to prevent this power from becoming too great in the end and thus ensure the fundamental right to privacy.