Wiki (n.) A web site in permanent Beta

Privacy: Privacy (n.) The protection of data, information, or knowledge goods held and owned by an individual or a group, including physical, technical, or legal exclusions that defend that protection.

Wikipedia describes privacy as "the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively". This is a pretty good definition except that it fails to ask the ever-important question: why? Why do we value privacy? If there is no good answer to this, there is no good answer to the question, "does it matter when we lose our privacy?" Luckily, economics provides a solid answer. Privacy allows the owner of a data, information, or knowledge good to receive the appropriate market value for its sharing and reuse, or to benefit by excluding others from accessing that information good.

Abuses of privacy are violations of the exclusion, and use of an individual or a group's data, information, or knowledge goods without their permission and without due compensation. The abusers' motto "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" is similar to the tyrant's motto "all property is theft", a rationale for organized expropriation of privacy by a more powerful group. Pieter's Privacy Postulate states that in any given society respect for privacy correlates to respect for freedom.

The economics-based analysis of privacy is based on the underlying analysis that society can be accurately understood as an data-information-knowledge processing machine constructed as a free market.

It is easy to test this hypothesis: would you accept $1m in exchange for your credit card records? How about $10m, or $100,000. As is clear, privacy has a monetary value. Violations of privacy are consider "unethical" because society respects, by definition, the economic value of data, information, and knowledge.

Finally, one can note that the definition of "data, information and knowledge goods" includes images, sounds, and other data about one's self. When an individual or group publishes data outside an agreed exclusion zone - e.g. by walking in the street - such data is considered as being put into the public domain. Thus, the question "what hat did the Queen wear at yesterday's parade" is not an invasion of privacy, while "what undergarments does she wear" is.

  • Hell: Hell (n.) The first invention of any organized religion, following the basic technique of mass marketing that to sell a product you must first scare customers into wanting it. [marketing power]
  • Saints: Gods (n.) Modern thinkers recognize four principal saints: Darwin, saint of the necessary accident; Newton, saint of necessary accidents involving motorbikes and fast cars; Streisand, saint of the freedom of speech, and Sturgeon, saint of life mostly sucking. [religion]
  • We: We (n.) Everyone except you. [society you]
  • Female Orgasm: Female orgasm (n.) During sexual intercourse, an unfakeable indicator that the male is capable of giving women intense pleasure. []
  • Spirituality: Spirituality (n.) A state of mind whereby an individual successfully ignores all inconvenient evidence and facts. In the perfect spiritual state, the real world ceases, temporarily, to exist at all. [confusion]
  • Breasts: Breasts (n.) Twin fatty deposits on the chest of the mature human female. The purpose of breasts is to attract males by indicating fertility and availability. [sex]
  • Negotiation: Negotiation (n.) The art of saying you don't want it, and even if you did, you aren't the one who decides. [power]
  • Diary: Diary (n.) A type of virtual Bitchtorrent peer invented by a frustrated teenage girl. [communications female]
  • Woofing: Woofing (n.) The canine command-and-control language that men use to self-organize. As in the common female complaint, "he's Woofing, instead of listening to me". [communications male]
  • Bitchtorrent: Bitchtorrent (n.) The peer-to-peer protocol that women use to exchange information, more politely called "bluetoothing". [communications female]
  • Bluetoothing: Bluetoothing (v.) The communication pattern by which two, or rarely, three, mature human females will synchronize their mental data sets using wireless acoustic signals to trade units of knowledge and information in a private setting. [communications female]
  • Beauty: Beauty (n.). In women, an aspect that makes them socially mobile. In objects, high levels of useful functionality, relative to the observer's needs. [female hair male sex]
  • Gangster: Gangster (n.): A rich boyfriend, but a poor husband. [gene male power]
  • Girlfriend: Girlfriend (n.): a female companion that young men must acquire by fifteen to avoid strange looks. [gene]
  • Boyfriend: Boyfriend (n.): banned, tolerated, accepted, and finally embarrassing. [gene power]
  • Parent: Parent (n.): An adult with an offspring, who dedicates an hour or more, every day, to that offspring. [sex]
  • Society: Society (n.) Equal parts of beggar, baker, bureaucrat, and bandit. [society]
  • Male: Male (adj.) That gender destined to ultimately be replaced by a computer program. [stupidity]
  • Promises: Promises (n). "I love you", "Your check is in the post", "I'll call you", and finally "I promise not to sue you". [lies money power]
  • Open Source: Open source (n.) A form of software written cheaply by young often unpaid programmers, packaged by large businesses, safely patented for its own defence, and then sold at significant profit to major firms, in the form of "support licenses". [money patents software]
  • Death: Death (n.) 1. An irrecoverable crash, resulting in full data loss. 2. The point in which a player is removed from the game. [epicfail]
  • Life: Life (n.) A game in which most of the game consists of discovering the rules, and then realizing that everyone loses. [epicfail]
  • Democracy: Democracy (n.) An imaginary form of government in which the will of the people is expressed through a series of so-called "elections". [power]
  • Beard: Beard (n.) A hairy covering of the lower part of the adult male face that reduces the noise-to-signal ratio of the facial area. The result is to make hairy adult males look more like other hairy adult males. [genes hair male violence]
  • State: State (n.) Generally, "the State" refers to a ruling national authority. [violence]
  • Bush-whacked: Bush-whacked (adj.) Severely damaged due to malign larceny disguised as incompetence. Also, "Bushed". [epicfail]
  • Zebra: Zebra (n.) An African wild horse, especially skilled at hiding, from lions, among other zebras. Edible. [food group]
  • Recession: Recession (n.) A shocking, sudden collapse in economic activity after only years of clear warning signs. [epicfail money]
  • Business: Business (n.) (1) The art of hating your suppliers, destroying your competitors, and despising your customers in the pursuit of profits. (2) War in suits. [money]
  • Darwin: Darwin (n.) One of the two gods of survival along with Newton. [darwin newton]
  • Burnout: Burnout (n.) A post-traumatic stress disorder caused by excessive investment in an imbalanced project. [pain]
  • Crash: Crash (n.) The sound of a bubble bursting. [epicfail money]
  • Housing Market: Housing Market (n.) The only market where governments deliberately create inflation. [economics]
  • Mathematician: Mathematician (n.) A kind of programmer who never makes mistakes, so needs no computer. [mind]
  • Theory: Theory (n.) An analysis that can never be entirely right, but can be entirely wrong. [stupidity]
  • Oil: Oil (n.) The remains of ancient bacteria, conveniently liquefied and converted to pure combustible hydrocarbons. [oil]
  • Love: Love (n.) A blinding smugness emanating from one's genes when they think they have found a perfect match. [genes]
  • Disease: Disease (n.) The undesirable state of being a microbe's lunch buffet. [darwin disease]
  • President: President (n.) Like a king, but without the burden of history. [power]
  • Hero: Hero (n.) A powerful man who has successfully hidden all his vices and weaknesses. [people]
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