The New Philosophers of Digital Privacy

Introducing Privacy in the Digital Age, a new series of TV posts by Ryerson University’s RdigitaLIFE project

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Ideas about what is public and what is private seem to be changing every day. While it might seem to some that privacy is a remnant of a bygone era, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian urges people not to give in just yet. “Privacy is a fundamental freedom. It’s a fundamental human right,” Cavoukian tells Ramona Pringle, host and producer of this six-part video series, Privacy in the Digital Age.

The Internet offers the promise of collective intelligence, enhance convenience, and the possibility of creating our best selves, but it also presents a living time capsule, where everything we say and do is recorded for history. Clearly, we need more philosophers in this debate. “It can’t be just engineers, it can’t be just product managers.…We need to make sure that technology serves society and empowers us, makes us better people and makes the world a better place,” warns Jules Polonesky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum. Kashmir Hill, who writes about privacy for Forbes magazine, adds, “Sometimes I worry that the amount of information that we get about other people is making us more addicted to that information flow.”


  • Marvin Ammori, author, On Internet Freedom (@ammori)
  • Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario (@ipcinfoprivacy)
  • Kashmir Hill, privacy columnist, Forbes (@kashhill)
  • Jules Polonetsky, director, Future of Privacy Forum (@JulesPolonetsky)


  • Host, producer, and writer: Ramona Pringle
  • Director of photography: Lisa Lightbourn Lay
  • Motion graphics: Olney Atwell
  • Post supervisor: Wil Noack
  • Post-production assistants: Dylan Morgan, Ian Holland
  • B-roll camera: Eric Sleeth, Joey Ferguson, and Luke Nater
  • Field camera: Jefferson Wright
  • Editorial assistants/social media: Marie Alcober, Ishani Nath
  • Content manager: Martin Waxman
  • Special thanks: Charles Falzon, Gerd Hauck, Val Fox, Sheldon Levy, Ben Peto

Join The Walrus and RdigitaLIFE as we explore some of the biggest issues in privacy—from surveillance to revenge porn to the social bargain that we enter into every time we go online. During the next two weeks, @walrusmagazine and @RdigitaLIFE will be co-hosting several privacy-related Twitter chats, organized around the hashtag #rprivatelife. Please follow both feeds for more information.

RdigitaLIFE is an independent project, based at Toronto’s Ryerson University, that explores human interactions with technology.