In developing materials around the principle Online Is Real, we had the opportunity to think more about the intimate relationship between online and offline — which, as we see it, are both aspects of the “real” world.

The Internet does work differently than the offline aspect of the world, and some of our principles and explanations focus on those differences and their implications for privacy: for example, the implications of the fact that everything is recorded, that there are different social norms for when and how people share personal information, or that it’s unclear how to enforce laws when physical boundaries are less relevant.

But the Internet is very much connected to the rest of the world — and the fact that it’s part of the real world also has implications for privacy. Some of our principles and explanations therefore focus on those connections: how what you do online can affect you in other aspects of your life, how your devices share information about your physical movements, and how your friends’ and family’s online activities can impact your privacy.

Linked below are a couple of thought-provoking articles we came across while looking for resources on this topic, from sociologist Nathan Jurgenson. These articles aren’t directly about privacy, but what they have to say about the illusion of separation between online and offline is very relevant to understanding privacy issues.