As long as your personal information is secret, you don’t even have a privacy problem. It’s only when somebody else knows your personal information that you have a privacy problem

Privacy is the problem you have after you share sensitive information.

When you discover that you might have a socially awkward medical condition and you go to the doctor, you don’t keep the condition secret from him – you tell him about it so that you can get treated. And when you leave the office, you don’t control your doctor; you trust him with your secret. You trust him with your private information because he has taken an oath to behave sociably and to use your personal information only in ways which benefit you.

That’s how privacy works; it’s not about secrecy, and it’s not about control: it’s about sociability. Privacy is a social good which we give to one another, not a social order in which we control one another.

Technologists hate this; social phenomena aren’t deterministic and programmers can’t write code to make them come out right. When technologists are faced with a social problem, they often respond by redefining the problem as a technical problem they think they can solve.

Bob Blakely, via Ed Felten, who comments:

Good design is not the whole solution to our privacy problem. But design has the huge advantage that we can get started on it right away, without needing to reach some sweeping societal agreement about what the rules should be. If you’re designing a product, or deciding which product to use, you can support good privacy design today.