Thursday, April 18, 2013

Safety vs Privacy

What do you conclude when looking at this picture?

The solution is:
a) Make the wall shorter
b) Make the wall taller

Those with a strong privacy background recognize this as a Privacy violation. Very clearly the wall is not tall enough. Clearly the female is to be protected against the male actor. Clearly the wall is defective and needs to be taller.

Those with a strong safety background recognize this as a safety concern. Very clearly the wall is not short enough to enable safe conversation between these two. Indeed the safety assessment doesn't apply ethical characteristics to the female or male image.

My viewpoint is to understand the use-case. What are these two trying to do? Is this a case of (a) or (b). Just because the image is made up of the images used for bathrooms does not mean that the image is of a bathroom use-case. Knowing the use-case is the only way to understand if this is a privacy violation or if this is a legitimate discussion over a wall that is too high.

Indeed the solution might be BOTH. The wall is indeed there for privacy purposes, and it is failing. There is also a safety concern as the wall is not tall enough to prevent someone from putting themselves and others at risk of harm. This shows that not always are privacy and security risks at odds. Sometimes they can be solved harmoniously.