Difference Between Privacy vs Confidentiality
This may not be true for every single person, but the majority of people prefer to keep some things to themselves as opposed to sharing with others at a particular point in time. According to psychologists, the ability to keep certain information away from the public comes with benefits such as self-identity, autonomy, a sense of control, and so on.
To properly refer to a particular piece of information that you wish to keep to yourself as explained above, you need to know the difference between privacy and confidentiality. You have probably used these words interchangeably thinking they both have the same meaning, but that is not right, as you are going to learn over the course of this post.
Definition of Privacy
Privacy is the ability to keep one’s life and personal affairs away from the public, or a state of being free from public interruptions and observations. This term is derived from the world “private,” which is originally English, a medieval term, to be precise.
It is used to state that the role of the public is limited in a particular situation. This means that your involvement with the public is kept at the barest minimum or is non-existence. That way, you can maintain a state where you are less likely to be disturbed or observed by an unwanted party, a.k.a. the public.
When you have a private event, for instance a party, it means the event consists of invited people only. People whose names are not on the guest list are not allowed in.
In comparing privacy vs confidentiality, the former has to do with an individual or group of people who do not wish to be observed or interrupted as a personal choice and right. This is usually not the case in the latter, which is mostly seen from a professional perspective.
Definition of Confidentiality
Confidentiality is defined as a personal piece of information shared with a party who has guaranteed not to share the said information with another party without the consent of the first party.
This situation is usually common in a professional environment between a client and their therapists, physician, attorney, and so on. Such information is usually sensitive and may cause some detriments to the first party if it is not kept confidential.
Aside from being used in professional settings, confidentiality also applies to non-professional settings. For instance, your ATM pin and will are some non-professional information that should be kept confidential.
One difference between confidentiality and privacy is that the latter is a right guaranteed by the government while the former is an ethical duty expected of an individual and some professionals. In other words, every person has a right to privacy and can choose to use it as required. However, you would need to enter an agreement with a person about a piece of information for it to be kept confidential.
Main Differences Between Privacy vs Confidentiality
|Basis of Comparison||Privacy||Confidential|
|Definition||The ability to keep one’s life and personal affairs away from the public, or a state of being free from public interruptions and observations||A piece of personal information shared with a party who has guaranteed not to share the said information with another party without the consent of the first party|
|Application||Applies to individuals||Applies to information|
|Nature||Personal choice||Professional obligation|
|Effectiveness||A human right backed up the government||An agreement between two or more parties backed up by professional ethics|
|Obligatory||Mostly the personal choice of an individual, so it is not an obligation||It is an obligation for professional and ethical reasons|
Difference Between Privacy and Confidentiality: Conclusion
If a professional does not honor an agreement to keep a piece of information confidential, they may put their patient or client in danger. He may also put himself and his career in danger as well seeing as he may have to face the law.
We hope comparison of confidentiality vs privacy in this post has helped you gain a better understanding of how these two differ. The former has to do with information while the latter has to do with individuals. Knowing this can help you use these terms better next time.