In my blog earlier this week I said that the privacy industry would have to respond to the Anderson report into state surveillance. But is there such a thing as a privacy industry? There are certainly many individuals who work in the sphere: data protection officers; lawyers; information security specialists, etc. But does that make us an industry? Also what of the academics, activists and bloggers? Should they not be included?
Should I have said the Privacy community? All involved would probably share a belief in the importance of privacy and data protection and have some knowledge of, and opinions about, the laws and rights involved. However, the degree to which they would accept limits to those rights would vary greatly. The vehemence of arguments about pragmatism versus purity is a constant surprise to me, whenever I debate such things with the array of individuals involved in the area. Indeed the heat generated by such debates has increased over the years, as the topic has gently moved from the obscure side-lines to the centre of the media stage.
Does it matter that we disagree? Probably not, as long as we recognise that we all have an equally valid point of view. A pragmatic viewpoint isn’t automatically a sell-out nor a principled one immediately pie in the sky.
Perhaps the best description of privacy people is that we are all in the privacy family. Because we all know how civilised family arguments are.