Opinion Analysis

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Privacy is a sacrifice you just have to make if you're funded by the taxpayer

Angela Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab Group. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Angela Kerins, Chief Executive, Rehab Group. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Mandy Johnston

Mandy Johnston

'I want to be alone". Greta Garbo claims never to have uttered those immortal words but rather "I want to be let alone, there is a difference".

Indeed there is. The thorny question of privacy has reared its prickly head again this week. In an ideal world we would all be allowed to dictate what people know about us, to reveal ourselves selectively. In this utopia we could create some perfect avatar that looked fantastic, was socially progressive, financially successful, worked hard for world peace, gave generously to charity and never made any mistakes.

But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in an ever-changing and evolving society, a society where the influence of the media is real and very relevant to the growing desire for information about how public money is being utilised. Whilst there may be a hankering for the old days where privacy was paramount we now live in an age where success at any level brings attention; attention that is not always welcome. But surely anyone who chooses to enter into public life must accept by now that it is no longer a choice – lack of privacy is a given.

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