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

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Privacy

Privacy

Every so often, you hear the argument “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, in order to justify increased and invasive surveillance. This argument is not only dangerous, but dishonest and cowardly, too.

In the comments to yesterday’s post about Sweden’s DNA register, some expressed the “nothing to hide” argument – that efficiency of law enforcement should always be an overriding factor in any society-building, usually expressed as “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. This is a very dangerous mindset. The argument is frequently raised in debates by pro-big brother hawks, and doing so is dangerous, cowardly, and dishonest.

There are at least four good reasons to reject this argument solidly and uncompromisingly: The rules may change, it’s not you who determine if you’re guilty, laws must be broken for society to progress, and privacy is a basic human need.

Let’s look at these in detail. They go from the less important and more obvious, to the less obvious and more important.

One – The rules may change: Once the invasive surveillance is in place to enforce rules that you agree with, the ruleset that is being enforced could change in ways that you don’t agree with at all – but then, it is too late to protest the surveillance. For example, you may agree to cameras in every home to prevent domestic violence (“and domestic violence only”) – but the next day, a new political force in power could decide that homosexuality will again be illegal, and they will use the existing home cameras to enforce their new rules. Any surveillance must be regarded in terms of how it can be abused by a worse power than today’s.

Two – It’s not you who determine if you have something to fear: You may consider yourself law-abidingly white as snow, and it won’t matter a bit. What does matter is whether you set off the red flags in the mostly-automated surveillance, where bureaucrats look at your life in microscopic detail through a long paper tube to search for patterns. When you stop your car at the main prostitution street for two hours every Friday night, the Social Services Authority will draw certain conclusions from that data point, and won’t care about the fact that you help your elderly grandmother – who lives there – with her weekly groceries. When you frequently stop at a certain bar on your way driving home from work, the Department of Driving Licenses will draw certain conclusions as to your eligibility for future driving licenses – regardless of the fact that you think they serve the world’s best reindeer meatballs in that bar, and never had had a single beer there. People will stop thinking in terms of what is legal, and start acting in self-censorship to avoid being red-flagged, out of pure self-preservation. (It doesn’t matter that somebody in the right might possibly and eventually be cleared – after having been investigated for six months, you will have lost both custody of your children, your job, and possibly your home.)

Two and a half – Point two assumes that the surveillance even has correct data, which it has been proven time and again to frequently not have.

Three – Laws must be broken for society to progress: A society which can enforce all of its laws will stop dead in its tracks. The mindset of “rounding up criminals is good for society” is a very dangerous one, for in hindsight, it may turn out that the criminals were the ones in the moral right. Less than a human lifetime ago, if you were born a homosexual, you were criminal from birth. If today’s surveillance level had existed in the 1950s and 60s, the lobby groups for sexual equality could never have formed; it would have been just a matter of rounding up the organized criminals (“and who could possibly object to fighting organized crime?”). If today’s surveillance level had existed in the 1950s and 60s, homosexuality would still be illegal and homosexual people would be criminals by birth. It is an absolute necessity to be able to break unjust laws for society to progress and question its own values, in order to learn from mistakes and move on as a society.

Four – Privacy is a basic human need: Implying that only the dishonest people have need of any privacy ignores a basic property of the human psyche, and sends a creepy message of strong discomfort. We have a fundamental need for privacy. I lock the door when I go to the men’s room, despite the fact that nothing secret happens in there: I just want to keep that activity to myself, I have a fundamental need to do so, and any society must respect that fundamental need for privacy. In every society that doesn’t, citizens have responded with subterfuge and created their own private areas out of reach of the governmental surveillance, not because they are criminal, but because doing so is a fundamental human need.

Finally, it could be noted that this argument is also commonly used by the authorities themselves to promote surveillance and censorship, while rejecting transparency and free speech. Those who want to have a little fun can play the reverse card as illustrated by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

The next time you hear anybody say “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, tell them that’s an absolutely false and dangerous argument, and point them at this article.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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130

  1. 1

    Going from DNA to camera surveillance? That is a big step. First of; it must be tireing being so mistrusting? With the statement you just made with this article you are basically saying that we should go around being scared of our goverment and it’s arms? How can we live our life always being scared. To some degree we must trust in the goverment we ourselves has choosen. It is by no means a “perfect society” we live in. But if we want to go forward and evolve then we need to start respect and trust one another.

    Camera surveillance in our home? Has that ever even been a topic in Sweden? When I read your articles if feels like you are TRYING to stir up trouble. Either that or you have a really narrow perspective.

    Instead of writing about how this and that is horrible and only seeing the worst case at every corner. Please let us know how you would like the society of 9 million people to work. I know Sweden is far from perfect right now, but it doesn’t deserve this much distrust. And the distrust doesn’t really help at all. I think we need to show more trust and not go in with the mindset that they are already evil and want what is bad for us.

    • 1.1
      Mårten

      But if we want to go forward and evolve then we need to start respect and trust one another.

      These mass surveillance laws and totalitarian ideas are based on fear and mistrust, that is part of the problem. If only all laws where based on mutual respect and trust…

      • 1.1.1
        Alessandro

        In that case lets just do away with all laws, because laws are all based on a fear that the very thing the law seeks to prevent may occur. We can go around living our lives naively thinking there is no evil and that everyone is a going to do the right thing, but the fact is, not everyone is going to do that.

        That is why things like this are necessary, if you think they’re worried about your life then you think you are way more important than you really are and you need a reality check, you’re 1 of 7,122,120,800 people, unless you’re a criminal or terrorist, the government doesn’t care about our pathetic little lives. This system is in place to improve International SECURITY, to help convict killers, rapists, and terrorists., not worry about your cat-obsessed internet browsing histories or how many times you go to the adult video store.

        Patrik is right, we need to trust in order to be trustworthy. Not the other way around. YOU elected that government to serve and protect you as citizen of that country so let them do it! Terrorists, murderers, rapists live amongst US. We are the ones who are dangerous to society because it is within the society that we live that these evil people operate. This just seeks to sort society those who are bad from those who are good.

        I still maintain, if you are not generally a law abiding citizen, you will be afraid of this system. and trying to counter that argument with “Everyone has something to hide” is as flawed as me saying “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” and its just borderline propaganda , not to mention scary to see how many people are hiding something.

        If they want to watch me shower, let them! I’m not making bombs in my bathroom, or hiding sex-slaves in my basement , murdering children every second Sunday or planning to hijack planes to fly into a skyscrapers, but other people are doing that, and it’s those people we need to get rid of. Granted, my privacy will have been affected (probably very slightly), but I would rather have the world know everything about me than have suicide bombers or psychopathic gunners kill me in the coffee shop or at my university or at the airport one Saturday morning because I didn’t allow MY government access to intel that could’ve stopped those assholes before they could push any detonator or pull any trigger.

        Of course, this is assuming the government will actually be using it for that. But this entire topic is one big assumption, nobody has real proof of anything in this article or in these comments besides that they have been spying on us already and nobody has been shot for looking at cat videos yet.

        • Logic

          Anyone who places any trust in a Government is naive. History has shown over and over and over how untrustworthy Government’s are. All politician’s care about is getting elected then re-elected. That’s it. And if they need to remove freedom’s of their people, so be it.

          A great article on how wrong you are.

          http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

        • JohnSawyer

          It’s a mystery to me why Alessandro thinks that the way to protect people from the tiny minority of people who commit the crimes he cites, requires him and the government forcing everyone to put up with cameras in our bathrooms, etc. He literally equates his (and us) taking a shower with the “intel” needed to track down terrorists. I see this attitude to be a kind of malignant narcissism–the desire to be “on camera”, under watch, made to feel more important in certain world affairs than one really is. Surveillance of this sort may make people like Alessandro feel like he’s “doing his part” in the supposed war on terror, but it’s actually providing “intel” to the watchers that’s completely useless for that purpose, while being useful to them for a variety of other purposes. And even if Alessandro feels he’s a big boy and couldn’t possibly suffer as a result of 24 hour surveillance everywhere he goes, most people not only don’t feel that way, they actually can’t function that way and shouldn’t be expected to, and yet he’d like to see that kind of regime imposed on everyone anyway. Possibly he has some traits that could make him a danger to others, and he recognizes that–either way, I suggest he get a head-mounted camera and livestream his life on his own, if he feels so strongly about his potential danger to the rest of us. Alessandro appears to be frightened of everything (or more things than most), and may not even consciously know it. He’s welcome to that mindset, but he’s not welcome to impose it on anyone else.

        • Rob

          There is a gas chamber patiently waiting for your foolish ideology. I realiy suggest you take as many history classes as possible and I sincerely hope you are not majoring in education.
          Please read this article over and over and understand that the nature of government never, never, never evolves into abundant goodness and decency. NEVER.
          Your thought process and blind obedience to government is cowardly not worldly and intelligent as you may assume.

        • “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” –Ayn Rand

          “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.” –Howard Zinn

    • 1.2

      “With the statement you just made with this article you are basically saying that we should go around being scared of our goverment and it’s arms? How can we live our life always being scared. ”

      You seriously need to read some history books on the the last 400 years. Of course we shoudl be worried about who has the violency monopoly inour societies. This is why most modern ones have a non-violent re-set of government every 4-5 years. They are called elections and serve to keep the powers of today somewhat in line. Societies whithout them or were this system fails do spin out of control in a violent manner without exception.

      It is having the very freedoms like privacy that makes it possible to live life without fear.

      • 1.2.1

        Arjen, good point. Please note that civil rights, that see on all sorts of liberty, mainly, are to be more powerful and influential than the outcome of elections. That is one of the reasons why at best civil rights are grounded in laws and international treaties that can not be altered by the popular hotshots of today. (Further down this page I give Argument 5 and 5 1/2 for non-surveillance of private doings.)

    • 1.3
      ForskarGurra

      “But if we want to go forward and evolve then we need to start respect and trust one another.”

      Do you realize what you just wrote? That is an argument for less surveillance and not more. I agree, the government should respect and trust us.

    • 1.4
      amerlyne

      “To some degree we must trust in the government we ourselves has choosen. ” – “we ourselves “? What do you mean“We”?
      If your government received 100 percent of the votes – You have everything to fear! If not – Opposition have.

    • 1.5
      Webster

      “First of; it must be tireing being so mistrusting?”

      Out government obviously does not trust us, which is why it wants to monitor everyone everywhere, but they have the stamina to keep distrusting everyone every day. And they have “useful idiots” who help them advance their forays into surveillance. They don’t look tired. Mistrusting people does not seem to be such hard work.

    • 1.6
      Jan Andersen

      So Patrik want us to trust each other? Guess he is fine with more lax gun control laws then. I mean, he should trust that I won’t do anything silly with that gun of mine.

      • 1.6.1
        Putr

        George Carlin: [George Carlin's final joke] Personally, when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true: I think either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all. Personally, I lean toward unlimited rights – I feel, for instance, I have the right to do anything I please. But, if I do something you don’t like, I think you have the right to kill me. So where you gonna find a fairer fucking deal than that? So the next time some asshole says to you, “I have a right to my opinion,” you say, “Oh yeah? Well, I have a right to my opinion, and my opinion is that you have no right to your opinion.” Then shoot the fuck and walk away!

      • 1.6.2
        LtCurry

        If I had a gun, and I knew you had one also, why would we be silly about it. Its a matter or Mutual respect, those who do not honor it are eventually picked out because of continues behavior. But Just as I have a male body, So do you, or maybe not, I am not going to use it our of personal reasons. That’s why there are criminals and those who respect. There will always be criminals, but for a criminal to know you can hurt him just as fast, if not much worse. He or she will think twice.

    • 1.7
      Prime

      “And the distrust doesn’t really help at all. I think we need to show more trust and not go in with the mindset that they are already evil and want what is bad for us”

      I agree. However a tiny remix:

      And the distrust doesn’t really help at all. I think the GOVERNMENT need to show more trust and not go in with the mindset that the PEOPLE are already evil and want what is bad”

    • 1.8
      DalSaGre

      This makes a lot more sense in america though. Sweden may be fine in this department, but in america, the government can read your texts, calls, emails, facebook posts, wiretap, surveille, or spy on whoever they please. Here the idea of cameras in houses is feasible- they’ve already GPS’d people’d cars and started PR campaigns to have citizens spy on eachother.

    • 1.9
      Belorn

      Trust is a relationships within and between social groups, based on belief in the honesty, fairness, or benevolence the another party, and is depended on being mutual.

      One sided surveillance, that is where people are being watched but the watchers aren’t, can never exist if there is to be a trusted relationship between those that watch and those that get watched.

      But Society needs trust. Without trust society erodes, unrest increase, law get disrespected, economic problems follows. It has also been proven, extensively proven with plenty of scientific studies, that without privacy you can not have democracy. Voting is fully dependent on the private right to think, read and research without being surveilled.

      Camera surveillance in our home has been suggested and is already in used for elderly in Sweden, and elderly and children in the united state. But then who actually need in 2012 Camera surveillance in our home when it already has a perfect record thanks to the mobile phone travel data, call and network history, data minded emails, data minded phone calls, data minded social networks? If the state suddenly wants video, it only need to turn on the camera on all the phones in the house and bing, in a flash, its done! Having state own cameras would only require the state to maintain them, Mobile phones are cheaper, and is already there, with the technology and code already running on the phones.

    • 1.10

      Google TrapWire, NDAA, Stratfor, CALEA and then yip about the governments we choose and have chosen, none of us are choosing any of this, we are being presented with a lesser of two evils dilemma, but there is always another choice, the free peoples choice. The excuse and reasoning that, it could be worse or this is a better system then most, fails to address that it COULD and CAN ALSO be better, and that human nature requires us to strive for improvements not be satisfied with what was ‘good enough’ yesterday or 30 years ago, its only 730 am my time, but that was the most piss poor arguement against a well written article I have seen all day and hope I won’t see anything more ludicrous before bed this evening, educate yourself and then tell us about how we should trust our big brother systems of government.

    • 1.11
      DavidE

      It seems most of the mistrust is in the people who think every person must be in this database so the police will have an easier time solving crimes, even in a country where most people never do anything worse than jaywalking. Mistrust of the government is necessary in a world where no government has ever *not* used every power it has against its own citizens or subjects.

    • 1.12
      Alec Sander

      You knoe what does have a narrow perspective? A surveilance camera. Any big or medium-sized city in Europe is bristling with cameras everywhere. Does it make th crime rate go down? Why it has a narrow perspective? Because, as the author is pointing out, it puts you in a specific location at a specific time, without any contextual reference. And if you by accident happen to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, what then? Can you be sure that the policemen watching the camera will have the slightest interest in your story? No, sir, they would be more interested in solving the crime; even if it means putting you in jail disregarding the fact of your innocence. Because “a camera never lies”, does it?

      Another point, not handled in the article, is the problem of the “third party”, ie. the question of who has the rights to access surveilance information (or a DNA-registry, or phone records and so on). Any recorded data may fall into wrong hands (say, a camera footage that incriminates you ends up on you boss’s table and so forth), and you can thus never be secure or sure of protection. As long as the information exists as a physical medium, someone will always be able to get it.

      Who is watching the watchers? I think a better quetion is, do we need watchers?

    • 1.13
      heather

      the government my founding fathers chose got a little happy slappy with their power pens. We just need to put them in check a bit. It’s not my job to respect my government it’s my job to ensure they are doing their jobs, protecting our safety and ensuring they do that without shredding the constitution and surely not protecting us from imagined bs they conjured up. it’s we the people not we the government.

    • 1.14
      Christian

      There is a distinction between trusting the government and trusting everyone that has access to the data. If you ask me if I trust the government I’d say yes. If you ask me if I trust every person in the government including every person associated with or working for the government I’d say no.

      It’s enough that one person that has access to the data use if for puropses that it was not ment for to create a whole lot of damage. It might not even be his or her intent to create damage. Maybe it’s sold to finance a new swiming pool.

      I pretty shure that you can go back in history in any country in the world and fins cases where people has used data for purposes that it was not intended for. That’s just how mankind works. Data that we don’t collect cannot be used. So let’s not collect it.

    • 1.15
      LtCurry

      If you do not distrust the Government they will, and indeed do overstep the bounds of intrusion. If I ad nothing to hide, just ask me of anything that pops up on an internet database hit. Don’t dig into our lives as youth, teenagers, mislead, or accidentally was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone has something to hide. Otherwise, they, Rulers, politicians, the Police who judge as guilty before innocent. That is a fact, would not be asking? And the people behind the cameras are the ones who should be investigated the most. As corruption, deceit, personal safety is always on there mind, as they see what the technology we have can literally find out how many times you use a bathroom at work. As there are cameras in 70% of employment facilities in America these days. What would a Fart, or Methane bomb in a restroom do besides clean the air.

    • 1.16
      Anon123

      You gotta be trolling Patrik, do you know FBI can remote control webcams
      and cell phones, now tell me how this is not scary, do you feel comfortable
      with this 1984 new world order ?

    • 1.17
      Am

      The Author of this article is not saying to be scared of our Government, he/she is simply stating that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is a misunderstood statement.

  2. 2

    It is chilling to think what movements may never have gotten off the ground if they’d been subject to modern and hopefully-not-in-our-future surveillance.

    In fact, I’d think that’d be most of them. What significant movement was NOT born out of some dissent and protest that could have been – or was – criminalized at some point? And without the right to move, associate, or even talk privately, the right to dissent & protest practically vanishes.

    Great article.

  3. 3
    Fredrik

    There’s one more argument: those who would keep watch on us always have things of their own to hide.

  4. 4
    K.

    “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
    Correct reaction should be: “If I have nothing to hide, I have no need to prove you.”

  5. 5
    ANNM

    Reason #3 reminds me of a minor plot point in Vernor Vinge’s “A Deepness in the Sky”, where it is considered a sociological fact that planetary civilisations that develop the technology for ubiquitous law enforcement will stop progressing and instead turn into increasingly violent police states that eventually are destroyed in riots and civil wars.

    • 5.1
      TimmyC

      Wow, I thought of that too.

      By the way if you’d like a fresh take on 1984 and ubiquitous law enforcement, you should check out Ken MacLeod’s Intrusion.

  6. 6

    Hello, Richard.

    Congrats on the great article and thanks for linking my Brazilian Portuguese translation.

    Let’s keep fighting.

  7. 7
    André

    @Patrik

    Why would going from a monolithic DNA database of all citizens to government surveillance in our homes be unthinkable in Sweden? The government is already wiretapping our communications in bulk with the FRA law.

    Meanwhile, in the UK, a society not very far from ours culturally and physically, things like that are already a reality:
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/115736

    It starts with keeping track of misbehaving kids. Then, when the infrastructure is in place and efficient tech easily accessible and installable, it might expand to keeping track of criminals on parole, or.. known sex offenders or.. dangerous dissidents? Islamists? Right-wing extremists?

    Just like wiretapping on a national scale, or registering all our DNA, things like that are just bound to head down a slippery slope and transform our society into something horrible unless we end it here and now with political action.

  8. 8
    Per "wertigon" Ekström

    The best answer I’ve found, which sums it up perfectly;

    “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
    “Then how come you won’t let me put up a surveillance camera in your shower? Got anything to hide?”

  9. 9
    Hal

    Very interesting post! You make some great points that I have not heard before, and your point about gay rights is quite clever.

    Speaking as an American, I think your post expresses a distrust of government that a lot of us over here find very agreeable.

    But perhaps DNA registries are a bit less readily misused than surveillance technologies? Of course one can imagine either one being misused. But DNA analysis is laborious and seems better suited to establishing guilt of a physical offense of some kind, whereas information collecting seems more suited to controlling people’s political behavior.

    One interesting controversy that is arising in the US relates to something in between: is it OK for municipalities to use cameras to keep track of which cars have been where. My instinct has been to say: it is only OK if we first write down the principles that will govern the use of the information, such as we only check who was driving in this neighborhood when we are investigating a specific crime. But a lot of your arguments would certainly apply to this technology!

    (Speaking of US vs European differences: I have read that Europeans are very distrustful of companies but very trusting of government. Whereas most of us in the US distrust government violations of privacy, whereas we tend to feel a little more accepting of companies keeping records on us. We tend to feel that if companies piss us off, we can just stop doing business with them–they can do annoying or even outrageous stuff, perhaps, but they can’t establish a tyranny. I have to say that I agree more with the American side of this difference of opinion.)

    • 9.1
      Scary Devil Monastery

      …We tend to feel that if companies piss us off, we can just stop doing business with them–they can do annoying or even outrageous stuff, perhaps, but they can’t establish a tyranny.”

      SOPA, ACTA and PIPA beg to differ.

      Yes, the american outlook is more proper – primarily because if a company behaves outrageously you can, at least in theory, take it to court.

      If the government abuses your rights you usually have very little recourse.

      However…when the government backs the companies – that’s when the situation becomes as toxic as it is in the EU.

      • 9.1.1
        Socrates

        The ability for citizens to try a case against a major corporation before the court diminish in USA, as mandatory arbitration become the norm. The change is presented as tort reform, a way to reduce fraud, or often not at all. With the need for both politicians and judges to be “eligible” to the political sponsors, the inability of the courts to hold powerful wrongdoers accountable, and all of the mass media owned (in both senses), it may have gone so far that the populace may only have hope to hope for.

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          Indeed. When large corporations become able to de facto commission laws regarding what conduct is and is not appropriate, that’s where you find a general breakdown of the separation between the public and private sector, leading to the mess the US is currently in.

          Case in point, takedowns according to the DMCA have become a highly effective tool of censorship – where the state explicitly in practice allows private interests to order blocks and takedowns without any trial or investigation whatsoever.

          Resulting in no few cases of corporations being able to stifle competition by ordering takedowns of information regarding alternative legitimate services, for instance.

          It is perhaps fortunate that the internet’s core functionality precludes easy censoring and indeed, any such attempts tend to provide a Streisand Effect rather than the opposite…

    • 9.2

      About DNA stuff…
      Here in France we got a DNA file about 10 years ago. This was supposed to be a tool to keep tracking of sexual delinquants. It is not the case anymore.
      In early 2013, there were 2.2 million people registered in it. 80% of the people in the file never were judged guilty.
      Now they can take your DNA for almost anything. And you are elligible to jail if you refuse.

      Welcome to the country of human rights and other bullshit stuff…

  10. 10
    X

    Related texts making the same point in more detail:

    “I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy
    http://ssrn.com/abstract=998565

    The Eternal Value of Privacy
    http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2006/05/70886

    • 10.1
      Anonymous

      That paper on SSRN (which I read when it came out) makes a very interesting point:

      In a democracy, those in control (in “authority”) are there because the people wish it. The people have _entrusted_ authority on the politicians they elect, and the civil and public servants implement policy at direction of the politicians. The implication is that the people trust the elected politicians to act in the interests of the people. Come the time of the next election, the people take the opportunity to reaffirm that trust or to give it to someone else.

      This is fundamental to a working democracy, understood by all who appreciate what it’s about.

      So. There is a 5th reason why “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve nothing to hide” is a dangerous argument. It allows those in authority to declare publicly that the people can’t be trusted.

      None of them. Not one. Not any of them.

      This is why they _all_ have to be watched. So the conversation goes like this:

      – “We trust that you will work in our interest so we confer this honour and responsibility onto you”
      – “Thanks. The next thing we’re going to do now is to start watching you all because none of you can be trusted”
      – “?!”

      At this point, democracy has broken down.

    • 10.2
      Éibhear

      That paper on SSRN (which I read when it came out) makes a very interesting point:

      In a democracy, those in control (in “authority”) are there because the people wish it. The people have _entrusted_ authority on the politicians they elect, and the civil and public servants implement policy at direction of the politicians. The implication is that the people trust the elected politicians to act in the interests of the people. Come the time of the next election, the people take the opportunity to reaffirm that trust or to give it to someone else.

      This is fundamental to a working democracy, understood by all who appreciate what it’s about.

      So. There is a 5th reason why “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve nothing to hide” is a dangerous argument. It allows those in authority to declare publicly that the people can’t be trusted.

      None of them. Not one. Not any of them.

      This is why they _all_ have to be watched. So the conversation goes like this:

      – “We trust that you will work in our interest so we confer this honour and responsibility onto you”
      – “Thanks. The next thing we’re going to do now is to start watching you all because none of you can be trusted”
      – “?!”

      At this point, democracy has broken down.

      • 10.2.1
        Scary Devil Monastery

        Dead on.

        A government which displays in policy that the citizenry can not be trusted with their own privacy is a government which has proven itself unworthy of trust by the citizenry.

        No matter the justification.

        Germany was a thriving democracy before and during the weimar republic. It all broke down when the people decided they could no longer place trust in their government at which point in time voter apathy allowed free reign for a minority party to grab absolute power with no more than 12% of the citizenry on their side (which became 30+ of the popular vote, since by then most people didn’t bother going to the ballots).

        The rest is history. The unfortunate point is that this pattern is tiresomely repetitive throughout human politics. Anyone who tries to defend the loss of privacy with motivations of national or private security misses the highly relevant fact that such loss of privacy has never been required and indeed, has always shown itself far more harmful than benevolent.

        I for one can see no reason why Sweden should suddenly be the first and only nation in world history to remain free of flagrant abuse of such power.

    • 10.3
      X

      More useful links can be found in this comment on Reddit by “NightshadeForests”:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/onions/comments/uwfsc/as_an_outsider_looking_in_i_have_a_question_about/c4zs8dj

  11. 11

    5. It presumes the people doing the surveillance are the good guys and they mean well. Sometimes they’re the fucking bad guys. In 1918, when Wobblies, socialists and antiwar activists were rounded up as political prisoners, A. Mitchell Palmer was a Bad Guy. Same goes for the Final Solution in Germany and the roundup of Japanese-Americans in California 1942.

  12. 12
    Anonymous

    Privacy is a basic human need. But not only in the bathroom…
    Meeting strangers anonymously, say as at a party, or it could be an AA meeting, or online, is where people are most really themselves, because they have the freedom to be who they really want to be. That is the basic human need that cannot co-exist with surveillance and Internet ID cards.
    And also the need to communicate privately with your lawyer, priest, doctor, librarian, or family.

    • 12.1
      Annie Buddy

      Nailed it indeed! We don’t suddenly fall “in love” with people we’ve known for a long time, we fall in love with strangers. Why? As you said, because we believe that they will see us for what we imagine that we can become, what we really want to be, not the person that we are now, the person that everyone we already know already knows. Forcing us all to unmask our findamentally anonymous online identity would destroy the hope, the romance, the community of it all.

  13. 13

    You could also turn it around and say if they have nothing to hide about the gold bullion inventory at the Fed and Fort Knox, then they have no reason to fear a gold audit. Government needs transparency — not people.

  14. 14
    Lilia

    It also seems that constant surveillance is damaging and burden for the psyche. This was from the TV document that I watched like ~4 years ago. In that document about 30 ppl lived in a commune, where nothing was private and everything was recorded by camera (including wc visits, sex etc.) In the end of the document people were – if i could say – bat s*** crazy and suffering because they didn’t have any privacy.

    ps. Maybe someone could remember that documents name? It was some young IT millionaire who had this surveillance community idea, but I cant remember who. Then that young IT guy also planted cameras to his own apartment and it seems that he proved to himself that cameras everywhere aren’t good idea for human psyche.

    • 14.1
      harveyed

      Yes, I am also convinced you are right about that. We will create a lot of more paranoid and potentially dangerous individuals by mass-surveillance than we can ever hope to catch with it.

      That can also of course be part of the plot: Place your political enemies under surveillance so they become batshit crazy and then point at them and say “don’t listen to them.. they are crazy!” and hope people don’t notice the psych bullying you have been doing to them.

  15. 15
    jon b

    Great points ! Let us not forget that more people have been killed through democide than by any external threat. Remember also that those at the top of the pyramid tend to lean closer to the sociopathic side of the spectrum.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democide

  16. 16
    Rickenbacker

    People are people. The man on the street who “shouldn’t have anything to hide” is the same who rules in office and government. They’re just as, in some cases more, prone to break the laws or act otherwise immorally. And yet it’s it’s always those in power who wants to monitor those without when it logically should be the other way around in any democracy.

    And don’t forget it’s been proven over and over that what’s LEGAL is not the same as what’s GOOD. The laws they want to make sure you follow might very well be against everyone’s best interest except the monitor’s own.
    The basic premise should be everyone is a trusted citizen, innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent by a CCTV.

    I consider anyone who holds it citizens to a higher standard than himself, anyone who places restrictions on them he himself won’t follow, anyone who deals in absolutes in matters of humanity – to have none. And they should be treated as such.

  17. [...] Falkvinge har skrevet et glimrende essay som totalt nedsabler argumentet om at “hvis du ikke har noe å skjule, har du ikke noe å være [...]

  18. 17
    J

    Hell democracy was born by breaking laws.
    But how can one make an argument in favor of “breaking the rules, sometimes”?

    • 17.1
      steelneck

      By talking about responsibility. You know, the classic excuse to avoid responsibility is the phrase “But i was only following orders/rules/whatever”. Breaking rules is to take on a burden of responsibility. Remember this every time a person in charge calls for new rules to follow, he is actually asking for an excuse to avoid responsibility.

      Every one who mix up this and call law abiding citizens responsible because they obey rules, actually argues that it was a responsible behavior shown by those who just obeyed order and turned on the gas in Auschwitz.

    • 17.2
      Scary Devil Monastery

      Martin Luther King Jr.?
      Gandhi?

      The suffragette movement? The Gay movement? The US independence?

      There are ample reasons as to why “breaking the rules” is indeed a path of progress in certain situations. For an ancient argument, try Plato and the argument where he puts paid to the concept of authority always being in the right.

      For more modern arguments as to why breaking the rules and laws are occasionally even necessary, see here:

      http://www.dumblaws.com/

      It has always been a fact that laws change or become ignored as they lose the moral basis they rest on. And what changes this paradigm is when sufficient people begin doubting those laws.

      Usually as a result there is no person today who isn’t in some way a criminal without being aware of it.

  19. 18
    mijj

    i don’t care how little i have to hide .. the authoritarian surveillance police state is a rabid pit bull in my home and on the streets.

  20. [...] článok: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear/ window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '220372314751941', // App ID status : true, [...]

  21. [...] I strongly believe it, but because I think this is the case most of the time.  Today I came across an article that provides a few reasons for why that is a dangerous argument to use.  And I have to say that it made me think and agree [...]

  22. 19
    Peter Andersson

    OT: Kim Dotcom (ja, den Kim Dotcom) – Ny sajt, ny gratis sång (oerhört bra!) och video.

    http://www.kim.com/

    Skulle kunna bli årets “sommarplåga” med lite pirat-PR…

  23. [...] Here is a fine response to that statement: Debunking the Dangerous If You Have Nothing To Hide You Have Nothing To Fear. [...]

  24. 20
    steelneck

    Usually they argue that surveillance have some sort of purpose to sort the evil ones from the good, and thus that the good ones have nothing to fear. Now lets play that tape a little bit further. If this line of thought is right, then there would be fully in order to give us all free access to the surveillance tools and data, since such access only hit the evil one (remember, the good one did not have anything to hide). Now if we play with this line of thought and approve the surveillance, instead of demanding privacy and be treated as innocent until proven otherwise. Now the the roles in this game will change when the monitoring side refuses to share the power that comes out of the access to the surveillance. Now _we_ can ask what _they_ have to hide.

    This is where we are today in many cases, when the surveilling part pretend to respect the integrity of peoples privacy. The surveillance is controlled by a few chosen, since peoples integrity otherwise can be compromised. The respect of peoples privacy and integrity is thus turned around against citizens, that is supposed to be innocent, and denying them both freedoms and access to the means and results of the surveillance. So we should mistrust those who are using surveillance the most when they claim to protect our privacy!

    This is something very important to explain to those “who have nothing to hide”, because they would be very uncomfortable if all of us, anyone, really had access to whatever surveillance there is. Just imagine a body scanner paired with passport data and a cctv camera all hooked up to the net accessible to anyone. Nothing to hide.. pfftt.

  25. 21
    Anonymous

    Poor old Sweden..Always gets a lot of lies against it.When in UK my home country I just had to contact the BBC reporter who was responsible for the tele-text news where it stated Sweden has everything free of charge(nurseries,health and the lot)which is a lot of old rubbish We pay through the nose for health care,mediciations..nurseries(children’s pre schools) Care homes for the elderly and A lot of other things.The reporter’s argument was ridiculous. People coming into the UK and ppl there already using the benefit system daily.Forums on the internet with thousand of ppl SHOW what BIG BROTHER is doing in UK.Maybe it is the USA/UK’s way of getting the attention from their big brothers.
    Meanwhile, in the UK, a society not very far from ours culturally and physically, things like that are already a reality:
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/115736

  26. 22
    Arhac

    Came to think about this article in Forbes:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/

    A CEO of a data mining company avoids creating a pattern by paying for junk food in cash. This is the kind of behaviour one develops when knowing that you are under surveillance. This person knows how information can be used by, for example, insurance companies to assess risks and adjusts his habits accordingly.

  27. 23
    Nunya Bizness

    “Never disturb the social order with things like truth.” 

  28. 24
    Mårten

    How come no-one uses “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” in defence of the News of the World phone hacking scandal? If we can trust the government then surely we can trust these responsible news organisations as well.

    (N.B. Irony)

  29. [...] Debunk­ing The Dan­ger­ous “If You Have Noth­ing To Hide, You Have Noth­ing To Fear”. [...]

  30. 25
    Anon123

    “Camera surveillance in our home? Has that ever even been a topic in Sweden? When I read your articles if feels like you are TRYING to stir up trouble. Either that or you have a really narrow perspective.

    Would not surprise if its already done trough cell phones and webcams, the NSA and CIA have this ability with the help of Providers.

  31. 26
    freeinternet777

    I saw the 4 corners story this week. Very interesting interview with you.

  32. [...] a good idea. It never leads to constructive criticism and makes the internet far less interesting. We all have plenty to hide and we should be accorded anonymity on the internet. Without freedom from repercussion, there is no [...]

  33. 27
    freeinternet777

    “if you havent done anything wrong….” etc
    My nazi CEO said that a couple of years ago and alarm bells rang in my head.
    THe fact is, you can say what is right on the net and remain annonymous.
    I have a child who is 7. I tell her what her english, latin, german, french, ancient greek, phylosophical and green-thumbed grandfather used to say about swearing and government “fiddling”;
    Swearing – I am sure you can use a better word to express yourself
    Government ‘fiddling’ – How dare they even think they can do it!

  34. 28
    Cp

    Well, surveillance and censorship in totalitarian regime – BAD; surveillance and censorship in mature (western) democracy – GOOD.

  35. 29
    Soylent

    The average american citizen unknowingly breaks ~3 federal criminal laws per day. The legal system is surely only marginally less insane in Europe.

    Ubiquitous surveillance means that you hand those in power the ability to destroy the lives of anyone they don’t like the look of, for any reason at all.

  36. 30
    Max

    Hi,

    there is a difference in privacy and secrecy. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear applies to relatinships and not goverments. Gov have no right to enter your space or privacy. It matters if you share your life with someone or are made to share with the goverment.

  37. 31
    FreedomParadox

    Great article. Great points.
    Thank you.

  38. [...] Zdroj: falkvinge.net Vyšlo: reporti.net (Nehodnoceno)  Loading … cenzura, dohled, internet, kamery, NWO, sledování, soukromí [...]

  39. 32
    theantipodes

    You missed the most obvious questions to those taking the “If you have nothing to hide…” position, namely: what is their annual salary, how often do they have sex, how often do they masturbate, and have they ever fantasised about having sex with somebody other than their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?

    And for bonus points, who was it they were fantasising about?

  40. [...] the Dangerous 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear'”: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear/ * INTERNET ACTIVISM: We highly recommend checking out this great video-interview with Julian [...]

  41. [...] * GREAT ARTICLE by Richard Falkvinge, “Debunking the Dangerous ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’”: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothi… [...]

  42. [...] Um interessante texto de  Richard Falkving, fundador do Partido Pirata da Suécia, trata de vários pontos que abordei no post anterior ao  falar dos perigos do “nothing to hide”. Ele está traduzido para o português aqui e foi originalmente publicado aqui. [...]

  43. [...] * GREAT ARTICLE by Richard Falkvinge, “Debunking the Dangerous ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’”: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothi… [...]

  44. [...] de Debunking the dangerous «Nothing to fear, nothing to hide» par Falkvinge. Pour l’image. [...]

  45. 33
    bert van delft

    You remember world war 2?
    There was a tiny country with a perfect administration of it’s citizens, name address, data and place of birth, parents and religion.
    Realy complete and realy handy when that country was occupied by the nazi’s.
    The jews they were after to destroy could easily be tracked down because food was on distribution so anyone who wanted to eat needed to register for the food distrubution and the ones who did not had 2 options only: dy from starvation or being transported toone of the massacre camps.
    Guess what: only 10% of the Jewish country men survived

    Will not happen again you say? Humanity has reached a level of civillication that will not tollerate this anymore?/ Remember Rwanda? with the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s ?? That’s only 20 years ago and with rising poverty within the EU the day’s will come the blame goes again to a minority who ‘needs to be destroyed …

    Alomost forgot to mention: that tiny country I mentioned begore? The Netherlands…

  46. 34
    freddy

    The people really complaining about this are the ones with something to hide. For 99% of people, this law is meaningless.

    For the child porn distributors, the terrorists, home grown and abroad, and other miscreants such as those stealing movies or music this finally enables law enforcement and the govt we just elected to fulfill their promises and keep us safe. If you think your data isn’t already mined by the government or better yet, Google or apple, your smoking some good stuff. I bet most of you are chrome users also.

    This bill can only be good for those of us actually following the laws. Wanna prevent Denver shootings,child porn, copyright theft from torrent sites, and terrorism, this is how its done. It was none too soon.

    • 34.1
      Billy

      I beg to differ.

      CP is already criminalised. Those participating in production and trading use anonymizing software and f2f technologies, and thus, are untraceable. You can’t hit them. You can’t find them. They’re ghosts in the wires.

      Terrorists, or whoever happen to be enemies of state at any given time, also use anonymizing software. Al Qaeda is nearly impossible to trace due to their reliance on simple f2f wetware.

      Putting cameras on streets never stopped theives. Or killers. Or kidnappers. Criminals gunna be criminals…

      Any mass-surviellence laws will never catch true criminals. They merely catch the low-hanging fruit, and usually have massive collateral damage. The Iraq war didn’t catch terrorists, but it killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Spying won’t catch terrorists, but it will expose thousands of citizens to extortion and blackmail at corrupt officials’ hands.

      /detroll

  47. [...] bezwaren – Privacy: het “ik heb niets te verbergen”-argument wordt hier onderuit gehaald (De Nederlandse vertaling vindt u [...]

  48. [...] criminalises behaviour which one currently engages in. Most people, however, argue from theory. The Pirate Party has a nice little primer on objections to the argument.Wouldn't it be nice if there were some practical, real world, examples of how having "nothing to [...]

  49. [...] criminalises behaviour which one currently engages in. Most people, however, argue from theory. The Pirate Party has a nice little primer on objections to the argument.Wouldn't it be nice if there were some practical, real world, examples of how having "nothing to [...]

  50. 35
    Great Fear!

    Many times minor feelings get in the way of mental thought. Yet it is not the norm. What do you do? Civilian intuition tells you to take a stand, do somthing about it. Call the law enforcement. Tell someone you know. Watch and seee what can happen no one wants to do that. There is nothing you see being done. You know it has already been done before. That is why the fear escalates. Many people push things to the side the more and more times the action gets its own way. Scary maybe fearfull definitly and you know that the next time it might not feel so scary or it might feel worst. Which one is it. It’s all of them why do i know this because fighting and beeing hurt gives you the mental trainning to understand the diffrence. Now in day the feeling is preminent at the time the acction is going down. Yet my trainning and my power in life leaves me to the simplest ideas. Caammeras are pointed at you and you don’t know why why yet there is someone else feeling the fear. Yet you don’t have the cammera on you at the time you want to you is. Sure your phone films yet the obvios dictates how dangerous is the fear your feeling. Best thing to know is that someone already knows the actions this fearing is causing yet people are being hurt and you arent the one to blame. What then maybee you let it contiue maybee you stand up. Maybee its a cycle. SOmtimes its better to have the right idea to use law enforcment, there isn’t enough money in my pocket to pay the right person to stop it. And who cAN you trust. If the people that you turn to can’t help. No trouble is the keey to the answer. yet losing the answer and making matters worst for your self and others is dangers. The silence of people is what kills people inside. And that is what theintetions seem to be with the law around here. I’mnot scared, someone else is what then. leave, move how many times can one lose there seet because they have somthing up thier sleeve that is more dangerous. Who can you help who can you avoid. The more you do better the more there freedom takes action. You don’t do anything they set up cammeras they give you what they don’t want. They blame you for there superiority. They take your life because now they feel safe. They make you the giver and you were the winner. Everybody knows it. yet if they don’t they want to stop it. Do I make people fear? Is it alot is it alot. Whent the cammera is turned you feel the fear and the nerve begins to twitch its not fear its feel of unconfort. Yet when they talk to you its nice I respond nicley. Maybee I’m not the one causing fear. That is my question. Or do the people with the freedom make the fear to whatch the actions of others. I don’t like cammeras, yet there nessesary in a place of fear, actions that cause fear. It can save many lives. There should be cammeras everywhere. I don’t carry fear as a badge I carry what the normal people carry dignity moral and disipline. yes there is places Where things don’t apply. Do they? It seems that it dosn’t apply to everyone. Because fear is still great when someone bad is around, the color of the skin, the shape of there body, the way they walk, the look on there faces. The mug shots the thought that what if this person causing fear is wanted and you don’y know it but you can feel it. Freedom is free. And so is losing it.

  51. 36

    There’s a similar argument to number four made here in reference to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”
    http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

  52. 37
    my personal life is none of anyone's business

    Let’s see if the people who use the whole if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about say that what’s in these youtube videos becomes reality

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zh9fibMaEk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lVTDY75mlA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2DY6jWT2a4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqDRhf1UpvE

    You see things like this are why we’re worried. If we let them the government will control and dictate virtually every aspect of our life even what we’re allowed to eat and drink and what we can do and when we can do it. Not to mention everyone even the people at the pizza delivery place, grocery store, gas station, and everywhere will know virtually every little detail about every little thing in your personal life. For those who think this is far fetched don’t laugh too hard. OnceObamacare and Real ID are fully implemented will make the nightmare seen in those youtube videos I posted links to reality. So don’t sit here and tell me that if I have nothing to hide then I have nothing to worry about

  53. [...] Debunking the dangerous “Nothing to fear, nothing to hide” debunks just that dangerous and blatantly false saying of “if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide”, which is wrong on so many levels. (A short retort to that one is “I lock the door when I go to the bathroom, despite nothing unusual going on in there – I just think I have a right to keep it to myself”, which will make some of people think.) [...]

  54. [...] by Rick, Debunking the dangerous “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear and Sweden, Paradise Lost: Part 3 — Sweden holds DNA database of everybody under [...]

  55. [...] Debunking the dangerous “Nothing to fear, nothing to hide” debunks just that dangerous and blatantly false saying of “if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide”, which is wrong on so many levels. (A short retort to that one is “I lock the door when I go to the bathroom, despite nothing unusual going on in there – I just think I have a right to keep it to myself”, which will make some of people think.) [...]

  56. [...] Debunking th&#1077 &#1088&#1077r&#1110&#406&#959&#965&#1109 “Nothing t&#959 &#1281r&#1077&#107… debunks &#1112&#965&#1109t th&#1072t &#1088&#1077r&#1110&#406&#959&#965&#1109 &#1072n&#1281 blatantly f&#1072k&#1077 adage &#959f “&#1110f &#1091&#959&#965 h&#1072&#957&#1077 nothing t&#959 &#1281r&#1077&#1072&#1281, &#1091&#959&#965 h&#1072&#957&#1077 nothing t&#959 h&#1110&#1281&#1077”, wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 incorrect &#959n &#1109&#959 many levels. (A small retort t&#959 th&#1072t one &#1110&#1109 “I lock th&#1077 door wh&#1077n I &#609&#959 t&#959 th&#1077 bathroom, even w&#1110th nothing unusual going &#959n &#1110n th&#1077r&#1077 – I &#1112&#965&#1109t r&#1077&#1089k&#959n I h&#1072&#957&#1077 a r&#1110&#609ht t&#959 keep &#1110t t&#959 myself”, wh&#1110&#1089h w&#1110&#406&#406 m&#1072k&#1077 &#1109&#959m&#1077 &#959f people r&#1077&#1089k&#959n.) [...]

  57. 38
    Daniel

    If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear applies to the government only.

  58. 39
    herzmeister

    plus the problem of the bully trap… whatever you say or do on the internet could be used against you at any point later in your life

    and if society is even more totalitarian in 20 years, then maybe a little link to an anarchist website you post today will get you in prison later

  59. [...] friskt samhälle behöver vi vara informerade, var och en behöver veta att den inte går runt med ett kort fastspänt i pannan där  andra kan se utom en själv, var man [...]

  60. 40
    JohnSawyer

    People need to focus on how to make a culture in which everyone doesn’t have to be surveilled 24 hours a day, rather than falling down on that job and taking the easy way out and surveilling anyway. The world survived before this level of spying, and it was a lot nicer place for it too. The massive crimes of the 20th century–Nazi Germany, etc.–happened out in the open, so no amount of surveillance was necessary to see it. Spying was a necessary part of the Allies winning WWII, but it didn’t involve spying on everyone 24 hours a day–the spying was much more focused on the perpetrators, rather than taking in everyone in a mind-numbingly huge dragnet.

  61. 41
    JohnSawyer

    Not only is it intrusive to pointlessly spy on innocent people, it’s a huge waste of resources. And, it’s an imbalance of power–the watchers have power over the people being spied on, and the people being spied on have much less power over the watchers. This is an automatic feature and danger in this kind of relationship.

  62. 42
    JohnSawyer

    I wonder how people who claim they’re comfortable with having no privacy, feel about having their votes made public knowledge, displayed at the polls on a big screen, transmitted to their bosses and to people working for politicians who are the rivals of the ones you vote for, etc.

  63. 43
    Rob Swinkels

    I think the first argument is a logical fallacy (a slippery slope). The argument is that if we give way now, it might lead to even more serious consequences in the future, and by adhering to the status quo that terrible future will be averted. That is a false conclusion and in itself no reason not to install cameras to monitor domestic violence. And even if a “worse power” would arise in the future, its invading actions and tactics are unlikely to be stopped by the existence or absence of a surveillance system already in place that could be expanded.

  64. 44

    Argument number 5 is missing. Every one does have something to hide! Being observed makes you vulnarable for criminals. Just think of the example with the home camera’s installed. They would also register when you are not at home, where you locked you expensive jewelry, etc. This makes you vulnerable for theft. The surveillance data may come in the hands of criminals. Even if it ‘s not home camera’s: just your electricity usage will be indication enough that you’re not at home and your house is unguarded.
    Argument number 5 and a half: not only criminals take an interest in your vulnerabilities, so do non-criminals. Suppose you answered someone you do not like that much you cannot come to his party, and when he insists you tell him you will have friends coming that evening. If this person has access to surveillance data (why wouldn’t he, since you have nothing to hide…) your friendly relationship is damaged.

  65. 45
    Magnus

    Is there a Swedish version (or other similar page) of this great list available somewhere for non English readers?

  66. […] a good idea. It never leads to constructive criticism and makes the internet far less interesting. We all have plenty to hide and we should be accorded anonymity on the internet. Without freedom from repercussion, there is no […]

  67. […] and that those who don’t have anything to hide don’t have anything to fear. (Which is a thoroughly dishonest argument on its own.) They tend to tell you that all of our call records and communications logs are stored […]

  68. […] That turns antivirus software into a double edged blade. One edge protects you, the other is a possible threat. In the case of Kapersky it is now a likely threat. The blogpost does not mention any NSA activity because it only is about revealing your GPS coordinates – and yes, in the cases mentioned GPS might actually save your life – but that does not matter. What it boils down to is the “if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide“-mantra which is bullshit. […]

  69. […] Hague, the phrase “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. In the article from Falkvinge it describes the dangers of this statement or ways of thinking in that way. If you are a law […]

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Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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