Debunking The Dangerous “If You Have Nothing To Hide, You Have Nothing To Fear”

Sensationalist headlines aside, there’s an important point here – we’re increasing trading convenience for privacy, whether it be in our location, our activities, our intents and actions or our social graph. Does this make it OK? Definitely not, but the more aware we are of this, the more able we will be able to make a sensible decision about this trade off. (See here for example:

Some are content to allow their phone manufacturers to track their movements and details, and one could argue that maximum functionality with today’s devices doesn’t occur until we feed that information in. Having said that, ignorance is not bliss.

As for practical solutions, which also applies to the security conscious – stay ahead of privacy settings in your online interactions, always keep local and off-site backups of online data and don’t needlessly share things without realising the repercussions. If you’re using an Android device, you could install a ROM built from source that doesn’t contain manufacturer tracking, monitor permissions and run a firewall. 

“Privacy is rarely lost in one fell swoop,” writes George Washington University law professor Daniel Solove in a May 2011 Chronicle of Higher Education essay. “It is usually eroded over time, little bits dissolving almost imperceptibly until we finally begin to notice how much is gone.” Solove suggests that privacy will be lost slowly at first, as many people shrug when the government begins to monitor incoming and outgoing phone numbers. After all, they’re just phone numbers. Each increase in government spying—recording selected phone calls, installing video cameras in public spaces, surveilling via satellite, tracking bank transactions, compiling records of Internet searches—is shrugged off as a minor intrusion. “Each step may seem incremental,” Solove warns, “but after a while, the government will be watching and knowing everything about us.”

Debunking The Dangerous “If You Have Nothing To Hide, You Have Nothing To Fear” – Falkvinge on Infopolicy

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