Privacy Play Speaks to General Concern About Online Protection

Online exposure has become such a part of our public consciousness that it’s now being reflected back at us in the work of writers and artists. This can be seen in the recent play titled “Privacy” which enjoyed a successful run in London in 2014 and just opened this summer in New York. The privacy play, written by James Graham and Josie Rourke, is a lighthearted look at what our lives have become in the internet age, as we struggle to balance “freedom,” “security” and the accessibility of online data. The British version included post-Snowden interviews with various politicians, but the American adaptation has been almost completely rewritten to be more relevant to still developing current events. Interviewees who also appear as fictional characters range from US Senators, to Intelligence Committee members, to Randi Zuckerberg, a former marketing director for Facebook.

In a preview written before the play’s official opening, Alexis Soloski of the New York Times described the “Privacy” play as, “part comedy, part documentary, part lecture-demonstration and part fourth-wall smasher.” Starring Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter in the lead role of “the Writer,” the play investigates how an intensely private person handles relationships, both on and offline. Audience participation via cell phone adds to the post-modern message of relativism, highlighting how easy it is to both observe and be observed online. In a magic-show-like stunt, “Privacy” appears to be able to deduce the thoughts of selected audience members exactly, mimicking how many people feel about the intrusiveness of the internet.

Privacy play wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago

When Michael Fertik founded ReputationDefender in 2006, the idea of online reputation management was still novel. It was just beginning to become clear that the amount of personal data on the internet could powerfully change someone’s life, but the idea of privacy in the virtual world wasn’t something many people thought about.

This has changed drastically over the last ten years. The number of social media sites has expanded, and many of our friendships and interactions now take place online. Every business and most individuals make some effort to control how their brand is presented. We’ve become hyper-aware of how much the internet knows about us.

Privacy a growing necessity

Daniel Radcliffe’s star-power obviously adds a lot of appeal, but this isn’t the only reason the New York version of this privacy play has become such a hit this summer. The necessity for online protection is one of the most pressing and current issues today. Every few weeks, there’s a new security threat. Governments struggle to make laws that will protect personal data online; at the same time government surveillance programs collect data which could be used to harm us in the wrong hands.

At ReputationDefender we see these concerns in our clients on a regular basis. The internet culture has brought numerous advantages, but the accompanying online privacy threat is a real one that needs to be taken seriously. This is why we work with companies and individuals to help them take control of their online profile. Effective reputation management can give individuals the freedom to decide personally what part of their lives is most shared on the internet.

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