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The power of privacy

Why privacy is a right (and we’re not talking data)

In today’s world, a ‘privacy breach’ usually refers to something virtual, and we have software programmes to keep our passwords, email accounts and social media posts safe, secure and, importantly, private. In fact, data privacy is so important, there are laws to protect us in this area. And yet we pay nowhere near as much heed to protecting our private time as we do to our data.

In the IKEA Life at Home Report 2019, the most striking statistic is that 85% of respondents worldwide believe they have a right to privacy at home, yet one in four are concerned their needs aren’t being met. This is because there are countless barriers to privacy in the modern world – including a feeling of not having the right to ask for it at home, which 12% of people globally reported – meaning that sometimes ‘just for me’ feels impossible to achieve. 

The report’s research also shows that when we don’t get enough privacy, our wellbeing dips: over 50% of people feel frustrated when they don’t get it, and one in three experience a feeling of anxiety. But the truth is, private time isn’t a bonus – it’s a necessity without which we struggle to get to know ourselves and grow as people. 

Rinkal, a Life at Home research respondent from Mumbai, says: “Without privacy there would be no space to provoke new thoughts and ideas. It would brutally kill all my creativity and passion. All our self-motivation and enthusiasm would dwindle down to zero.” 

So, since consciousness is the first step towards change, a goal for each of us in 2020 is to focus on the protection of our private time as much as we do our private data. And for time for ourselves and to be ourselves to become something whose importance – just like our bank login details – is considered an essential, non-negotiable, universal right.

So, where to begin? Well, with these simple steps.

"Without privacy there would be no space to provoke new thoughts and ideas. It would brutally kill all my creativity and passion." Rinkal, 25-34, Mumbai