Our Issue

The word privacy means different things to different people. Some think of it as the right to be physically left alone. For others, it evokes thoughts of surveillance in the workplace or by their government.

Our organization focuses primarily on data privacy (also called information privacy).


Data Privacy is Control

Data privacy centers on the control a person has over their personal data and considers how that data is collected, used, shared, sold, stored, and protected.

Though we focus directly on data privacy, we consider many interpretations of the word privacy in our work. When people lack control over their personal data their experiences and feelings can vary widely. Someone might feel discriminated against, intruded upon, surveilled, manipulated, unsafe, exposed, and powerless.


Data Privacy is Power

Data privacy is increasingly a part of global policy discussions and people’s everyday lives due to rapid advances in technology, the scale and ease with which data can be collected, reduced costs of storing and processing data, and widely-publicized data breaches and security incidents.

The more data one has on another, the more power that entity or person can exert. This is only exacerbated by the fact that personal data is often collected, used and shared without individuals’ knowledge. Without meaningful legal protections, there is a massive power imbalance between people and institutions gathering information about them.


Data Privacy is Equitable

While data privacy is itself a critical right, it also helps form a foundation for other fundamental rights like freedom of speech and freedom from certain forms of discrimination. Everyone must have access to data privacy rights and protections—not just those with the time and/or money to take affirmative steps.

Data privacy protections and individual rights must be accessible to be equitable—addressing the power imbalances between communities and the institutions and technologies with which they interact and on which they rely.