Ever since the Edward Snowden revelations, a debate has been raging about whether privacy is at odds with security. I tend to fall on the side of favoring individual privacy.
We must have privacy from our own government
I do not accept the premise that total acceptance of an omniscient surveillance state should be the price of security for citizens of modern open societies. I believe that any state empowered with the means to eavesdrop and catalog the ubiquitous digital communications of all of its citizens will abuse that power and I believe that innocent people will suffer the consequences of that abuse.
I do not accept the premise of a refrain I’ve often heard and will paraphrase: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about”.
The problem with this idea is that you think you have nothing to hide until you realize that you do. And if you do decide you want to hide something, there are fewer and fewer places to hide it.
Whether or not one “has something to hide” depends entirely on the motivations of the person or organization seeking access to that which one considers private.
I believe that what we don’t explicitly desire to share, we must be able to hide from anyone.
Our privacy cannot be protected by organizations with a vested interest in violating it
It has become increasingly clear that privacy is not just important as it relates to revelations about governments spying on their own citizens. Little by little we are seeing just how precious the security of personal data is as it is stolen piece by piece by a thousand different players: domestic and foreign governments, corporations, hackers, organized crime syndicates, and advertisers. Together, the threat posed by all of these players to our personal freedom and security is greater than the sum of the parts.
I believe that if we insist on keeping the door open for those we trust to protect us, the door is open. Period. We have relinquished the power to protect ourselves.
Privacy has become a necessity and a responsibility that we must take seriously on both an individual and policy level.
Privacy is our right.
I believe that secure encryption of our personal data and communication must be a right every citizen of a free society. Many arguing against this have good intentions. But I believe they endanger us more than they protect us.