Evan Selinger

Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology

Evan Selinger is a philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and currently a senior fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum in Washington, DC. His journalism has appeared in Wired, The Atlantic and Slate, among others. He’s working on the book Being Human in the 21st Century, co-authored with Brett Frischmann (due 2017).

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It’s time to give up on the ideal of perfect privacy online

Evan Selinger

The right way to answer the question of whether privacy is dead is to begin by pointing out that the question itself is poorly constructed. Yes, it’s an attention-grabber that gets asked all the time. Thirty-five years ago, it even was posed on the cover of Newsweek. The layout invites readers to identify with an illustration of a frightened couple being scrutinized by an anthropomorphized phone busily writing an investigative report.

That’s right, even before the personal computer revolution and the birth of the commercialized Internet, people were worried about how technology, especially the tools of mass communication, would shine a revealing spotlight on their private ...

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