Abstract: The far-reaching digitization of all areas of life is blatantly obvious, its individual and societal consequences are the subject of a broad public and scientific debate. The concept of privacy with its traditional notion of a categorical separation between ‘private’ and ‘public’ is the wrong starting point to describe, analyze or explain these consequences. Instead, a thorough analysis must take the processes of modern societal and especially organized information processing as a starting point, the organizations and institutions they’re producing as well as the power relationship between organizations and the datafied individuals, groups and institutions.
After the first industrialization (of physical or manual labor), a second industrialization is now taking place: that of ‘intellectual work’, i.e. of societal information processing. It undermines the old mechanisms of distribution and control of power in society and threatens the bourgeois society’s promise of liberty by structurally rescinding individual and societal areas of autonomy. This very development and its consequences are what Datenschutz is addressing. Its function is the maintenance of contingency for the structurally and informationally weak under the terms of the industrialization of societal information processing and against the superior normalization power of organizations.