By now we’ve heard that just a couple of weeks ago several high profile celebrities’ personal nude photographs were hacked and posted for public consumption. The celebrities themselves are outraged, as is a great dealt of the American public. Since then lawsuits have been threatened and Google claims to have gone to great lengths to have had the links to the photos removed. One of the most high profile of these celebrities finally broke her silence and spoke publicly in an interview that is available in Vanity Fair. Jennifer Lawrence has gone on to explain that regardless of her very public role as an actress that “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It's my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can't believe that we even live in that kind of world. "
What Lawrence has communicated makes sense and it seems to be how many people feel about this apparent violation of privacy. But what Lawrence is also communicating is something much bigger. There has been a significant shift in the cultural landscape of privacy. In a mobility rich post-Snowden world, from the Supreme Court to Hollywood, we are experiencing an evolution of the expectation of privacy.
What Lawrence has highlighted for us is the disconnect between our current interpretation of privacy and what the law provides – “the kind of world” that we are actually living in. Recently, the Supreme Court recognized this by acknowledging that the interpretation of the law must begin to evolve to include special consideration for cellphones because of the intense amount of private information they contain. The Supreme Court recognized one corner of our landscape where the evolution of privacy, as it pertains to the extension of so many of our personalities that we also know as cellphones, has changed our expectations of how and when we need to be protected.
Why business should take notice.
Businesses, when dealing with the privacy of their employees, must understand that the expectations are now very high. Processes, internal policies and tools must accommodate this changing landscape. Better yet, the most successful businesses will be the ones that choose to get in front of this terrain.