Beyond Privacy

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* Special Issue: Beyond Privacy. New Notions of the Private and Public Domains. Open 19, 2010



  • Jorinde Seijdel, Editorial

  • Rudi Laermans, Communicative Sovereignty

The import of the pair of concepts ‘public and private’, long considered the expression of an architectural fundamental truth, has expanded, even become existential, with the rise of modern methods of communication. Owing to the fact that private life has become completely interwoven with the (digital) outside world, the concept of privacy in this day and age holds many paradoxes. According to Belgian sociologist Rudi Laermans, the need for a ‘no man’s land’, free of all interchange, beyond or beside the law, is only the greater for this.

  • Maurizio Lazzarato, ‘Pastoral Power’ Beyond Public and Private

The Italian-French sociologist Maurizio Lazzarato uses Foucault’s concept of ‘pastoral power’ to analyse the demise of the separation between public and private space. Furthermore, his study of the social policies concerning unemployment show how ‘the production of guilt’ is more and more often being used as a strategy – a process already described by Franz Kafka in his literature.

  • Daniel J. Solove, The Meaning and Value of Privacy: Appeal for a Pluralistic Definition of the Concept of Privacy

According to Daniel Solove, professor of law at Washington University Law School, we need to reconsider the concept of privacy. He appeals for a more pluralistic reading of the concept, to facilitate the recognition of problems pertaining to privacy. In his most recent publication Understanding Privacy,1 he has developed a framework for this. In the following article he discusses the ideas unfolded in the book.

  • Armin Medosch, Margins of Freedom: Privacy and the Politics of Labour and Information

Media artist, writer and curator Armin Medosch researches the development in the meaning of the term ‘freedom’ and the idea of privacy that goes with it. The solution to the current crisis concerning privacy stretches beyond finding a new balance between private and public. According to Medosch, the solutions should be sought in the realm of the digital commons, where freedom is not seen as something to achieve on one’s own by accumulating possessions, but as something that is created by sharing knowledge.

Researcher Felix Stalder analyses the loss of the key role of the concept of privacy. Privacy long secured the balance between the control of institutions and the autonomy of the citizen. Today, with institutions aiming more and more to provide customized services and the autonomy of both citizens and institutions changing, this role is disappearing, making the danger of an increase in control and power a realistic one. To turn the tide, Stalder argues for a greater transparency of the back-end protocols, algorithms and procedures of the new, flexible bureaucracies.

  • Column, Joris van Hoboken: The Importance of Privacy

Confusion about the Civil Right of the Twenty-First Century

  • Oliver Leistert, On Data Retention, Post-Fordism and Privacy Movements in Germany

The introduction of the data retention policy in the EU, resulting in digital doubles, has led to the emergence of grassroots protests centred on privacy and surveillance issues, especially in Germany. One of these, AK Vorrat, is a network platform that makes intensive use of the Internet and is rooted in the liberal democratic tradition. In the following text, media researcher Oliver Leistert places data retention in a post-Fordist framework and highlights some of the shortcomings of the protest movement.

  • Martijn de Waal, New Use of Cellular Networks: The Necessity of Recognizing the Nuances of Privacy

According to media researcher Martijn de Waal, it is time to rethink our ideas of privacy. The growing use of cellular networks is generating data that plays an important role in civil society projects. To be able to continue using such data in a meaningful and fair way, people must become aware of the fact that privacy is not only a question of either private or public, but includes many New gradations in between. Online artikel

  • Rob van Kranenburg, From Privacy to Privacies

Rob van Kranenburg explores the field of the Internet of Things and is founder of the think-tank ‘Council’.1 With regard to the infrastructure of technologies and networks that connect us with one another and our environment, he argues in favour of making concepts of privacy operational from the bottom up. Only then can we free ourselves from the primacy of the security mentality.