We learn a great deal about an insurance company – especially after the first attempt at a claim. This may be analogous to the fact that privacy is something we take for granted until it has been violated.
In this day and age of instant information, coupled with deep and wide data collection, a closer look at the meaning and expectations of the word privacy is in order.
Wikipedia defines privacy as “the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively”. This definition may be rather cumbersome, but it gives us the idea that we seek anonymity. Take, for example the widely held practice of a “secret” ballot. We do not want others to know who we vote for. It is private! It is none of your business!
As humans moved from an agrarian based society, where contact with others was infrequent, to urban areas, anonymity became a little more difficult. Today, with instant messaging, the explosion of internet activity and marketing organizations trying to eek out every bit of information they can, it takes more effort on our part to preserve our privacy.
Our Federal and Provincial Governments have all crafted legislation to protect individual’s privacy. These acts range from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act (Canada) to the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act (PIPEDA). Each Province has a Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) which varies slightly but serves the same purpose.