No Hiding Place
This week on Facebook: Ignoring the additional online security problems that users of Facebook are confronted with, I decided to focus on the nothing to hide view that is especially prevalent in a government’s attitude to online surveillance and privacy.
The growth of State Surveillance has grown immensely, even since 2013 when I first wrote about it in my post The State, Domestic Extremism and Terrorism. In Grading The War On Terror (2014) I wrote that repressive laws are rarely repealed and their use is invariably extended to create criminals of the very citizens that they were originally introduced to safeguard. A 2013 CNN article claimed that We are living In 1984 Today, confirmed (perhaps) by the police use of facial recognition software at the 2017 Notting Hill Carnival!
I first covered the claim that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear last May in my post on State Surveillance. Also in May 2016 I posted Social Media and Terrorism to Facebook, the rise of radical suppression, in the form of state sponsored terrorism or currently that of the jihadists activities that now pervades all of our lives.
Yet perhaps the greatest danger to liberty comes the government itself. In November 2016 The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 came into force, known colloquially as ’The Snooper Charter’ it adds yet another weapon to the government’s use of parliament and the law to suppress the rights of its citizens.
It is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers, without also understanding the threats. Theresa May 2015
From the police point of view… theft, burglary, even violent crime will not be the predominant police feature. What will be the matter of greatest concern will be the covert and ultimately overt attempts to overthrow democracy, to subvert the authority of the state. Sir Cyril James Anderton CBE 1979
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders…tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. Hermann Göring 1946
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken 1915
Monday For those with nothing to hide: Many, including the Cabinet, argue that security forces need the additional powers introduced by this bill, in order to keep the British public safe from terror. In reality though, this argument is a red herring, because the forces who deal with extremely serious crimes already have the powers they require.
Tuesday You May Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ But You Still Have Something to Fear: The “nothing to hide” argument mistakenly suggests that privacy is something only criminals desire. In fact, we choose to do many things in private – sing in the shower, make love, confide in family and friends – even though they are not wrong or illegal. Who would not be embarrassed if all of their most intimate details were exposed? Fences and curtains are ways to ensure a measure of privacy, not indicators of criminal behavior. Privacy is a fundamental part of a dignified life.
Wednesday Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance: If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.
Thursday ‘I have nothing to hide’ is killing the privacy argument: Separating the desire for privacy from the desire to do something illegal is where it all starts. Too often the two are interwoven into a blanket statement that all those who desire privacy online are doing so out of the necessity to hide nefarious actions. Arguing that only criminals desire privacy is a dangerous thought, as it’s suggesting that we are all worthy of suspicion. In the courts, we’re innocent until proven guilty. Online, it’s quite the opposite.
Friday How “Nothing to Hide” Leads to “Nowhere to Hide”: Guess what? If you bring your phone with you everywhere, or engage with a whole-house robo helper such as Alexa or Echo or Siri or Google, you’re opening up every aspect of your life to government officials, snooping (possibly criminal) hackers, and advertisers targeting you, your spouse and your children.
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