Why privacy matters - Glenn Greenwald

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My notes about the Ted X talk by Gleen Greenwald at Ted X Global 2014.

The recording of the talk can be found here on yewtu.be

Thinking of being alone

Most people experienced humiliation when they got “caught” doing something they would only do in private, if no-one was watching. The feeling of humilition (and pursuit of privacy) is in the human nature.

“Nothing to hide” argument

The “Nothing to hide” argument follows the idea that there are two kinds of people: good and bad.

Bad people do violent things, plan terrorist attacks, kill and torture people. These people have something to hide.

Good people, do not plot bombing attacks or kill people. They use the internet to read the news, stay in touch with friends and family, etc. These people are doing nothing wrong, therefore they have nothing to hide and no reason to fear the monitoring by part of the government.

People that sustain the “Nothing to hide” argument, self-deprecated them to the point that they are so harmless and uninstering person that they don’t fear having the government knowing what they’re doing.

The “Nothing to hide” argument hides 2 important misconceptions.

  1. The only people who care about privacy are by definition “bad people”.

  2. An implicit bargain: if you’re untreatening and harmless to those who have political power, then and only then can you be free of the dangers of surveillance. only if you are a dissident, one who challenges power, you have something to worry about.

It suppresses the power of dissidents, activists, journalists to denounce misuse of power and national secrets, that shouldn’t be “secrets”, but truths and facts.

Incoherence with the argument

People who say “Privacy isn’t really important” are self-delusional.

They try to safe-guard their privacy as hard as they can. Trying to prevent other people of entering their private space.

Privacy is in the nature of humans

As human beings instinctively understand the importance of Privacy. We are social animals, we need to share what we do, say and think.

As important as to what it means to be a free human being, is to have a place where we are free of judgemental eyes of other people.

All of us have things to hide.

The importance of Privacy

When people are being watched / monitored, our behaviour changes dramatically.

You’re much more compliant and conformist. You act not with your intentions and ideas.

If you’re being watched, you act obidiently and in a compliant way. (See panopticon)

Mass-surveillance creates a prison in your mind.

You never have a private moment and it changes your life.

Here, have a slice of pizza 🍕