Why Privacy Matters Even if “You have nothing to hide”

The overwhelming majority of people these days don't seem to care about privacy. They say things such as “why should I care about privacy, I have nothing to hide”.

There are so many things wrong with this statement.

Privacy is a basic human right, to quote Ed Snowden, the famous NSA whistle blower:

“Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Why would you not care about one of your human rights?

When asked if you have nothing to hide, it's not that I have nothing to hide, I simply don't have anything I would like to share, especially unknowingly. 

People that say you have nothing to hide often care the most about their privacy. For example Mark Zuckerberg spent $30m (£18.8m) buying four houses that surround his own home in California in 2016. “Why?” you might ask, because he cares about his privacy.

We all care about our privacy, though we might not know it. Thats why we lock the door when we go to the toilet or why we close the curtains to stop people looking into our homes.

If you look at dictatorships from all periods of time up to the present, they all rely on the basis that people can't know the truth if you don't give them it. This is censorship.

With no privacy there is no room for freedom of expression, without freedom of expression you can't give your own opinion, laying the path for limitation of the press which inevitably leads to censorship and the eventual fall of democracy.

We all need a place to be ourselves, whether that be our bedrooms or a quiet place in the woods, without that place we may not be able to truly discover ourselves. You wouldn't do experiment with something (like playing a guitar for the first time) in public knowing you'd be judged for it, but you would at home.

To conclude: Privacy Matters. It's undeniable.

So what can we do?

I have talked about this from a very non-technical standpoint, so if you care, and want to actively do something about your privacy then there are lots of great websites, tutorials and sub-reddits on the matter, so don't feel you have to suffer in silence.

Further Reading


https://write.privacytools.io/privacy-simplified/ (bit of a plug)