So this blessing of loneliness was not really loneliness. Real loneliness was something unendurable. What one wanted when exhausted by the noise and impact of physical bodies was not no people but disembodied people; all those denizens of beloved books who could be taken to one's heart and put away again, in silence, and with no hurt feelings.
Privacy is a protection from the unreasonable use of state and corporate power. But that is, in a sense, a secondary thing. In the first instance, privacy is the statement in words of a simple understanding, which belongs to the instinctive world rather than the formal one, that some things are the province of those who experience them and not naturally open to the scrutiny of others: courtship and love, with their emotional nakedness; the simple moments of family life; the appalling rawness of grief. That the state and other systems are precluded from snooping on these things is important - it is a strong barrier between the formal world and the hearth, extended or not - but at root privacy is a simple understanding: not everything belongs to everyone.
Intellectual property, more than ever, is a line drawn around information, which asserts that despite having been set loose in the world - and having, inevitably, been created out of an individual's relationship with the world - that information retains some connection with its author that allows that person some control over how it is replicated and used.In other words, the claim that lies beneath the notion of intellectual property is similar or identical to the one that underpins notions of privacy. It seems to me that the two are inseparable, because they are fundamentally aspects of the same issue, the need we have to be able to do something by convention that is impossible by force: the need to ringfence certain information. I believe that the most important unexamined notion - for policymakers and agitators both - in these debates is that they are one: you can't persuade people on the one hand to abandon intellectual property (a decision which, incidentally, would mean an even more massive upheaval in the way the world runs than we've seen so far since 1990) and hope to keep them interested in privacy. You can't trash privacy and hope to retain a sense of respect for IP.
A desire for privacy does not imply shameful secrets; Moglen argues, again and again, that without anonymity in discourse, free speech is impossible, and hence also democracy. The right to speak the truth to power does not shield the speaker from the consequences of doing so; only comparable power or anonymity can do that.
England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare's much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control - that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.