Although discussions of privacy and technology are often issue centered, some do address fundamental questions such as what a "right to privacy" might entail. This paper proposes to address a still more fundamental question. Arguing that a better understanding of "privacy" hinges on the better understanding of the related terms, "personal," "private," "secret," and "public," this paper first suggests an analysis of the meaning of these terms. Building on this analysis to advance discussion of the topic of privacy and technology, the paper then provides a consistent ethical position, and discusses the consequences of its analysis on the understanding of privacy within the democratic state. Finally, as an example application, the paper revisits the issue of ownership of personal data.