Privacy Is an Old People Issue?

A video has come to light in which Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, responded to a question by saying that “all these concerns about privacy tend to be old people issues”.

While it may be that some younger people may be a bit more permissive with their information than older generations, it does not mean that younger people are not concerned about privacy, or are not exercising control over their personal information.

His comment has lead to a strongly worded rebuke by Ann Cavoukian, the Ontario Privacy Commissioner.

From her article:

Here we go again. Once more, the chief of a major online social network has called into question the relevance of privacy in today’s connected world. This time it is Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, who recently said that “privacy is an ‘old people’ issue.” Really? He’s dead wrong


Privacy relates to freedom of choice and control over one’s own personal information – that hasn’t changed, despite the explosion of online social media. In fact, the need for privacy has grown in the face of deceptive practices online, such as identity theft and cyber bullying. Privacy has evolved, with context playing a key role. The onus is now on social media platforms to provide users with clear and simple privacy tools to enable user control.

She goes on to cite several studies that refute the notion.



  1. Linked “in” or “out”: The challenges of balancing social networking and the absolute truth–that privacy matters and is protected by fundamental laws, provides for a legal “bumpy road” ahead. While a collaborative approach, to minimize privacy risks and improve public trust is highly desirable, I wonder how many people (young and old) would still be willing to waive the risks to be connected?

    I take some satisfaction in knowing that Mr.Hoffman is LinkedIn to growing old like the rest of us.