Top German Police Officer: 'Anyone On The Internet Has Left The Private Sphere'
from the you-first dept
The Internet as a mass medium is still relatively young, so it’s no surprise that its function in society and in our daily lives is still being defined. One important question concerns the nature of our actions online: to what extent are they public? Here’s one rather extreme view, expressed by Jürgen Maurer, vice-president of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, as reported by Der Spiegel (original in German):
Anyone on the Internet has left the private sphere, and finds themselves in a kind of public sphere.
That’s no mere detail, of course: actions that are perfectly acceptable in the private sphere may not be in public, and vice versa, so it’s crucially important to know where you are at a given time. For example, there are many things you might get up to in the privacy of your own home that would not be allowed in public. Similarly, it’s generally regarded as OK for the police to keep an eye on what happens in public places, but their interest in people’s bedrooms most certainly wouldn’t be.
Since Maurer seems to believe that anything you do online, however personal and intimate, takes place in “a kind of public sphere,” perhaps he’d like to follow that through, and start posting all his Internet activity online for the public to enjoy. Or maybe his idea of the public sphere online really just means “a place where the police don’t need to get a warrant to spy on people….”