“Nothing to hide” is not a good argument

When talking about privacy and online surveillance (a topic that has been in the spotlight over the last year) with friends, colleagues and people that haven’t given much thought about these issues, the most common answer i hear is (as you’ve already guessed) “I’ve nothing to hide”, which is fallacious argument. Arguing with someone that has this mindset is really difficult because most of the time (in my experience) it means one of 4 things:

  1. I don’t care.
  2. I don’t know the quantity and/or quality of  information that can be gathered.
  3. I don’t believe small pieces of unrelated information leaked in different places will be added up to build a more complete profile.
  4. I’m not really aware of what the implications of surveillance are.

Trying to convince this person that privacy in the age of the Internet is a topic worth discussing is really hard (it got a little easier after last year’s events).

Today I’ve read an essay that really sums up some of the arguments i would use to show to someone that privacy matters. It is a long read but it worths the time spent:

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide

About the author

Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.

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