Friday, September 09, 2005

Whither to Privacy, Whither to Trust?

I have been away from the world of blogdom for the past few days trying to use my time constructively in studying till an issue irked me a couple of days back which I tried to ignore and sort out in the most amicable way. But it refused to die down and things came to a head when I was accused of not respecting the ‘right to privacy’ by a rank stranger.
With me having been an activist for this particular right and in fact the encroachment of this very right of mine being the reason of the birth of this bog, this was strange.
But if that person’s idea of ‘private matters’ was discussing me, replete with my full name, who my friends are , who I talk to and how much I talk and what I do , with 20 people who don’t know me and don’t deserve to know me in one of those so- called online communities which is as private as the Statue of Liberty, then I am sorry , I don’t and can’t respect his right to privacy.

I am not a celebrity and hence I am not putting up with paparazzi. And privacy on what grounds? Constitutional? Even in Parliament a member cannot be discussed in absentia. Legal? My dear sir , its you who can be taken to the court for misrepresentation of facts. Moral? Naah , I don’t think these people would understand this word. And if it is, I have still not attained the moral zenith where I can abstain myself from accessing information that is available to me without hacking, cracking and using any illegal means esp. if that information is about me and is as much a news for me as for the other members of the community.

Now I happened to be at a place where I had perfect right to be in the virtual world trying to pass a message to a friend when I stumble upon a bits n pieces of conversation amongst people who I didn’t know trying to find ‘more’ about me. Who would not be curious? My salutes to the one who replies in affirmative. It did not require an I.Q. of 140 to follow the particular chain of conversation to the community where the people concerned planned to carry on the matter in their implied privacy. And I am not exactly stupid. And if people I don’t know are so curious to get information about me, well so am I.

Judgements I don’t fear, for people I care for will judge me right and for the rest I don’t care. Criticism I appreciate as long as it is healthy and by someone capable of the job. I can laugh at myself as long as it is funny. I’ll crib, cry and criticize in return , but I won’t condemn the person concerned. I’ll fight and fume but I’ll see to it that the facts are put right. Conjectures I don’t resent . For it is the power to analyze that separates man from animals and the conclusions finally arrived at only reflect the mental level of the person concerned. And if that happens to be lower than a snake’s belly button , its hardly my problem.

But,

Somebody I don’t know and don’t care to know professing to possess informed opinion about me based on factually incorrect facts whatever the source of information might be ,I resent.

I think most people can make out what online place I am talking about. Where communities of girls’ colleges have more male members than females , the amount of privacy guaranteed is pretty obvious and I am sure the people concerned are not so naïve as not to realize that.And if my protesting agisnt something being said about me and that too not publicly as had been done by these people but to a friend is considered a breach of their privacy, I pity them.

Though I was not answerable to anybody , I still apologized to the one person I knew there for stumbling upon a group of friends who I thought were upto some harmless fun and asked him to put matters straight. And respecting their right to privacy , I did not read anything except the post concerning me nor do I intend to for I don’t think I’ll find that either interesting ot entertaining. But still, according to one member, I could not know what they knew ( considering its about me , that would be pretty nigh impossible , right?) and I could not know what they feel ( oh I can very well do that , the question is how much you feel and do YOU know what others feel?) .

If people get their kicks out of slinging mud at their friends , they might as well dump the entire garbage dump on each other , I don’t care . As long as I am not a part of it.

I still haven’t had a direct confrontation with any of the people concerned neither do I wish to because I put it above them to ever admit their own mistake or to respect any body or anybody’s right to privacy for that matter. I have not raked up this issue with the one person I do know ( who happens to drop in at my blog from time to time) for the simple reason that I don’t need to point out things to him again and again for he can very well see what’s wrong without my telling him.
Though I do wish that the people concerned get the message that I have absolutely no interest in what they think , feel or say as long as they leave me out of it esp since they have their facts so horribly contorted

But the one issue that does rise out of this whole thing is that with net becoming one whole world in itself , where actually is the right to privacy headed. With more and more people acquiring their own presence on net and expressing their opinion about each and everything under the sun ( I don’t grudge anybody this as I too am a part of the crowd). But an unknown person like me coming across two discussions about yours truly being carried out without my slightest inkling (the other one is another story) totally by chance and google devta showing your presence in recesses of this wide web which you did not even know existed, can we still expect to live without becoming the topic of such conversations. I think that the maximum we can achieve is stay oblivious of all this as we did in the good old days when, yes ,the unemployed and useless people did discuss others but did not have such a far reach. For what you don’t know won’t hurt you!

I am pretty upset by the whole turn of events simply for the reason that its totally new to me. I am used to having and may I say lucky enough to have had friends who respect me and will always stand by me .I at least expected one person to refute what was said without bringing up this ‘I intruded into their group’ issue. But I was disappointed. I don’t know how he stands in this whole issue. He’s the person who knows that best. The stand to take his to decide and I don’t expect him to owe me any obligations.I am perfectly capable of defending myself though right now I don't want to stoop so low. I have lived right and I am an intensely private person And I am possessive about my life and what I do with it. If somebody wishes to become my potential biographer , I would request him to get his facts straight or come to me and I’ll put them straight.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:54 PM  
Blogger Me said...

i read the first couple of paras and realised that this post has a pre-requisite. gimme a link to tht.

1:33 PM  
Blogger TheDoc said...

the link was not provided for two simple reasons:
1.I do not publicise what I do not endorse.
2. To protect the haloed 'right to privacy'(ok this one is weak , so i stick to 1 above)
u'll find the requisite information though minus the finer details in the following paras , if thou has the patience.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Me said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:46 PM  
Blogger ruchzzzzz said...

Hey Darl!!
Aptly endorsed whatever u felt.....I hope the miscreants got the message very clear.....

10:19 PM  
Blogger TheDoc said...

ruchi.the purpose of this post was not to get a msg across to anyone..had i felt the need to do so i stil have my faith in the pvt channels of communicaton and dont believe in making a 'fuss about everything'..it was just writing about something i felt strongly about.. the max i wanted to convey was that i wasnot inetersted in anybody's pvt matters and that shd hold for everybody irrespective of their having any direct or indirect relation to me or this post.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Shobhik said...

Can I link to this post?

Its really good. Makes you think after you have read it. Would linking this violate any sort of implied privacy?

I value my own privacy, and therefore I understand your concern. Came here through handa's blog.

8:03 AM  
Blogger TheDoc said...

@kranti: oh u can definitely link to my post..no privacy here..implied or otherwise , its a public forum as it is.the pleasure will be mine.

12:40 PM  

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