Curtains Existed Long Before The Industrial Revolution or Rome

Privacy is something which has emerged out of the urban boom coming from the industrial revolution … As a result, privacy may actually be an anomaly.
Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist; Nov 19, 2013

The privacy conversation is a big thing and in my opinion, requires high profile leadership with clear wording and direction.

Although Mr. Cerf has a strong background supporting the Internet (one of the fathers), he chose to take this conversation in a direction that muddles the issue.

Privacy is not an accident and it’s not an anomaly. Curtains have existed well before the industrial revolution. They go way back in fact.

When TechCrunch’s Gregory Ferenstein chose to point to Rome as an example of how cultures traditionally have been “open” in nature, he failed to study his history. Curtains predate the Roman empire.

In fact, Rome’s open ways at the bath house are more reflective of a decadent society than anything else. No, the notion of privacy existed long before Rome. But even in Rome, curtains could be found in windows.

The Bible book of Exodus mentions the English rendered word “curtain” almost 30 times.

So rather than taking the privacy conversation down a road that demotes the meaning of this word to an accident, let’s hope that a high profile thought leader steps up to the plate with a clear discourse on why this word has always had historical relevance.

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