"If you haven't done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about," seems to be a answer response these days to concerns about loss of privacy and personal rights in an age of ever-expanding surveillance. Needless to say, this is an absurd and shameful argument. Of course I have something to worry about. Everyone does. To quote Bruce Scheier from a recent article:
Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time.
Privacy is a fundamental human right, one which can not and must not be surrendered. The next time you here this statement, consider these responses:
Some of my favorites:
- If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.
- Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition.
- Because you might do something wrong with my information.
- Mind if I make a video of you [making love to] your wife then?
- So you trust the government completely? Not just this administration, but all of them? You trusted Nixon?
- Yeah..., isn't that what Stalin used to say?
- "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
You get the idea.