Nothing to hide therefore nothing to fear?

How many times have you heard that before? Here are a few possible responses:

  • So you don’t have curtains in your house?
  • So you don’t have a lock on your bathroom?
  • So, if that is the case, here’s my email address. I take it that you won’t mind me asking for you to send me all of your logins and passwords for all of your accounts so that I can see for myself that you do indeed have nothing to hide (Glenn Greenwald)
  • Privacy is a human right (see article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights)
  • That’s not the point
  • It’s not for me to justify my human right to privacy. Rather it is for you to justify why you are taking away that right from me
On 1st December 2016 the Electronic Janitor @electrojanitor tweeted that “#Privacy matters because if you watch somebody – anybody – closely enough for long enough you’ll find something you can use against them.

This is precisely why the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument is a bogus one.

It is also worth reflecting on Cardinal Richelieu who famously said “If you give me six lines written by the hand of men, I will find something in them which will hang him”.

Perhaps part of the problem is that people confuse privacy with secrecy. On 19th January 2017 @smetille posted a tweet “Don’t confuse privacy with secrecy. I know what you do in the bathroom, but you still close the door (…) you want privacy, not secrecy”

@AnnCavoukian made a similar point, also on Twitter, also on 19th  January 2017 “Privacy = personal control, not secrecy”.