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Privacy

  • My desire to curtail undue freedom of speech extends only to such public areas as restaurants, airports, streets, hotel lobbies, parks, and department stores. Verbal exchanges between consenting adults in private are as of little interest to me as they probably are to them.

  • I would not open windows into men's souls.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • c. 1559, in J.B. Black, The Reign of Elizabeth 1558-1603 ()
  • ... the world can forgive practically anything except people who mind their own business.

  • My age is my own private business and I intend to keep it so — if I can. I am not so old that I am ashamed of my age and I am not so young that I couldn't have written my book and that is all the public needs to know about my age.

    • Margaret Mitchell,
    • 1936, in Richard Harwell, ed., Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind Letters 1936-1949 ()
  • Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is in public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

  • As new discoveries are causing all-penetrating physical lights so to abound as that, as has been said, we shall soon not know where in the world to get any darkness, so our new facilities for every sort of communication work to reduce privacy much within its former limits.

  • ... if I believed that the choice lay between a sacrifice of the completest order of biography and that of the inviolability of private epistolary correspondence, I could not hesitate for a moment. I would keep the old and precious privacy,--the inestimable right of every one who has a friend and can write to him, — I would keep our written confidence from being made biographical material, as anxiously as I would keep our spoken conversation from being noted down for the good of society.

  • What a man does in his own house cannot concern the nation.

  • The human animal needs a freedom seldom mentioned, freedom from intrusion. He needs a little privacy quite as much as he wants understanding or vitamins or exercise or praise.

  • ... stop spying on the lawful citizenry. Democracy and dossiers go ill together. It is all right for God but all wrong for the State to keep its eye on sparrows.

  • Love of privacy — perhaps because of the increasing exactions of society — has become in many people almost pathological.

  • I'm Nobody! Who are you? / Are you — Nobody — Too? / Then there's a pair of us? / Don't tell! they'd advertise — you know.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1861, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • Always there remain portions of our heart into which no one is able to enter, invite them as we may.

  • ... I made myself into an envelope into which I could thrust my work deep, lick the flap, seal it from everybody.

  • You never understand how dear your privacy is until you lose it.

  • All violations of essential privacy are brutalizing.

  • Privacy is a privilege not granted to the aged or the young.

  • ... there are public lives, personal lives, and private lives. The public life is the one everyone sees in your daily routine, the personal one you reveal to your family and closest friends, but your private life, that's just what you know about yourself, what you hide from everyone else.

  • You should not want to know the things in people's minds. If you were meant to hear them, they would be said.

  • It has been my unbroken policy not to see newspaper writers or give interviews to anyone. At the word interview spoken or written my ears go up and my chin out.

    • Grace Coolidge,
    • letter (1928), in William O. Foss, First Ladies Quotations Book ()
  • Privacy is like sleep — something you don't appreciate until you have to go without it.

  • It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people's business.

    • Dolley Madison,
    • 1809, in Allen Culling Clark, Life and Letters of Dolly Madison ()
  • Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.

    • Jodie Foster,
    • Golden Globes acceptance speech, in The Los Angeles Times ()
  • I minded my own business, and, unfortunately, so did everyone else.

  • We are moving into a world of unaccountable and secretive corporations that manage all our communications and work hand in hand with governments to make us visible to them. Our privacy is being strip-mined and hoarded.

  • Privacy — like eating and breathing — is one of life's basic requirements.

  • Privacy is granted to you by others, by their decency, by their understanding, by their compassionate behavior, by the laws of the land. It exists only when others let you have it — privacy is an accorded right.

  • I am persuaded that we are all surrounded by an atmosphere — a separate, sensitive, distinct envelope extending some distance from our visible persons — and whenever my invisible atmosphere is invaded, it affects my whole nervous system. The proximity of any bodies but those I love best is unendurable to my body.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • We live in the era of the curated life.