Why Does “Privacy” Matter, A Question Or An Answer For You To Decide…..
Last year I was invited as part of a colloquium on Privacy. The discussions were very passionate but people seemed to not understand exactly where all the discussions were going. People need to recognize their privacy as all data on a person is personal, intimate… However, you take it. Just as a sharing hand…..
“…the people that say that, that privacy isn’t really important, they don’t actually believe it. And the way that you know that they don’t actually believe it, is that while they say with their words “privacy doesn’t matter,” with their actions they take all kinds of steps to safeguard their privacy. They put passwords on their email and their social media accounts, they put locks on their bedroom and bathroom doors. All steps designed to prevent other people from entering what they consider their private realm and knowing what it is that they don’t want other people to know.”
“The reason is that when were in a state where we can be monitored or can be watched, our behavior changes dramatically. …Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle, though much more effective, means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, and is much more effective than brute force could ever be.”
*”PRIVACY” IS LIKE “the environment” — it’s about many things to be useful, so everybody ends up trampling it for a host of petty reasons. Leading to a world that’s degraded and hostile, and that would never have been chosen had the consequences been made clear in at the start. But take it or leave it. The 90’s really opened a can of worms. Well no one really imagined that things will even go that far and beyond our realms of our hands. But hacking and espionage already existed from Stone age. It just became more sophisticated. Can you guys imagine what “Ceaser” or “Alexandre the Great” could have done with such technologies let alone Hitler
“On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing-to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody, “Everyone is guilty of something or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is.” Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novella “Traps,” which involves a seemingly innocent man put on trial by a group of retired lawyers in a mock-trial game, the man inquires what his crime shall be. “An altogether minor matter,” replies the prosecutor. “A crime can always be found.”
One can usually think of something that even the most open person would want to hide. “If you have nothing to hide, then that quite literally means you are willing to let me photograph you naked? And I get full rights to that photograph—so I can show it to your neighbors?” The Canadian privacy expert David Flaherty expresses a similar idea when he argues: “There is no sentient human being in the Western world who has little or no regard for his or her personal privacy; those who would attempt such claims cannot withstand even a few minutes’ questioning about intimate aspects of their lives without capitulating to the intrusiveness of certain subject matters.”
Let’s think twice, I wouldsay that such responses attack the nothing-to-hide argument only in its most extreme form, which isn’t particularly strong. In a less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument refers not to all personal information but only to the type of data the government is likely to collect. Retorts to the nothing-to-hide argument about exposing people’s naked bodies or their deepest secrets are relevant only if the government is likely to gather this kind of information. In many instances, hardly anyone will see the information, and it won’t be disclosed to the public. Thus, some might argue, the privacy interest is minimal, and the security interest in preventing terrorism is much more important. In this less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument is a great and solid one. However, it stems from certain faulty assumptions about privacy and its value.
To evaluate the nothing-to-hide argument, we should begin by looking at how its adherents understand privacy. Nearly every law or policy involving privacy depends upon a particular understanding of what privacy is. The way problems are conceived has a tremendous impact on the legal and policy solutions used to solve them.
Attempting to understand privacy do so by attempting to locate its essence—its core characteristics or the common denominator that links together the various things we classify under the rubric of “privacy.” Privacy, however, is too complex a concept to be reduced to a singular essence. It is a plurality of different things that do not share any one element but nevertheless bear a resemblance to one another. For example, privacy can be invaded by the disclosure of your deepest secrets. It might also be invaded if you’re watched by a peeping Tom, even if no secrets are ever revealed.
With the disclosure of secrets, the harm is that your concealed information is spread to others. You’d probably find that creepy regardless of whether the peeper finds out anything sensitive or discloses any information to others. There are many other forms of invasion of privacy, such as blackmail and the improper use of your personal data. Your privacy can also be invaded if the government compiles an extensive file of all your details, actions etc., about you.
“Privacy, in other words, involves so many things that it is impossible to reduce them all to one simple idea. And we need not do so….”
With all that I’ve crunched out am sure you will still be wondering Why does privacy matter? Often courts and commentators struggle to articulate why privacy is valuable. They see privacy violations as often slight annoyances. But privacy matters a lot more than that. Let me leash some thoughts for you all reading:
1. Limit on Power
Privacy is a limit on government power, as well as the power of private sector companies. The more someone knows about us, the more power they can have over us. Personal data is used to make very important decisions in our lives. Personal data can be used to affect our reputations; and it can be used to influence our decisions and shape our behavior. It can be used as a tool to exercise control over us. And in the wrong hands, personal data can be used to cause us great harm.
2. Respect for Individuals
Privacy is about respecting individuals. If a person has a reasonable desire to keep something private, it is disrespectful to ignore that person’s wishes without a compelling reason to do so. Of course, the desire for privacy can conflict with important values, so privacy may not always win out in the balance. Sometimes people’s desires for privacy are just brushed aside because of a view that the harm in doing so is trivial. Even if this doesn’t cause major injury, it demonstrates a lack of respect for that person. In a sense it is saying: “I care about my interests, but I don’t care about yours.”
3. Reputation Management
Privacy enables people to manage their reputations. How we are judged by others affects our opportunities, friendships, and overall well-being. Although we can’t have complete control over our reputations, we must have some ability to protect our reputations from being unfairly harmed. Protecting reputation depends on protecting against not only falsehoods but also certain truths. Knowing private details about people’s lives doesn’t necessarily lead to more accurate judgment about people. People judge badly, they judge in haste, they judge out of context, they judge without hearing the whole story, and they judge with hypocrisy. Privacy helps people protect themselves from these troublesome judgments.
4. Maintaining Appropriate Social Boundaries
People establish boundaries from others in society. These boundaries are both physical and informational. We need places of solitude to retreat to, places where we are free of the gaze of others in order to relax and feel at ease. We also establish informational boundaries, and we have an elaborate set of these boundaries for the many different relationships we have. Privacy helps people manage these boundaries. Breaches of these boundaries can create awkward social situations and damage our relationships. Privacy is also helpful to reduce the social friction we encounter in life. Most people don’t want everybody to know everything about them – hence the phrase “none of your business.” And sometimes we don’t want to know everything about other people — hence the phrase “too much information.”
In relationships, whether personal, professional, governmental, or commercial, we depend upon trusting the other party. Breaches of confidentiality are breaches of that trust. In professional relationships such as our relationships with doctors and lawyers, this trust is key to maintaining candor in the relationship. Likewise, we trust other people we interact with as well as the companies we do business with. When trust is breached in one relationship, that could make us more reluctant to trust in other relationships.
6. Control Over One’s Life
Personal data is essential to so many decisions made about us, from whether we get a loan, a license or a job to our personal and professional reputations. Personal data is used to determine whether we are investigated by the government, or searched at the airport, or denied the ability to fly. Indeed, personal data affects nearly everything, including what messages and content we see on the Internet. Without having knowledge of what data is being used, how it is being used, the ability to correct and amend it, we are virtually helpless in today’s world. Moreover, we are helpless without the ability to have a say in how our data is used or the ability to object and have legitimate grievances be heard when data uses can harm us. One of the hallmarks of freedom is having autonomy and control over our lives, and we can’t have that if so many important decisions about us are being made in secret without our awareness or participation.
7. Freedom of Thought and Speech
Privacy is key to freedom of thought. A watchful eye over everything we read or watch can chill us from exploring ideas outside the mainstream. Privacy is also key to protecting speaking unpopular messages. And privacy doesn’t just protect fringe activities. We may want to criticize people we know to others yet not share that criticism with the world. A person might want to explore ideas that their family or friends or colleagues dislike.
8. Freedom of Social and Political Activities
Privacy helps protect our ability to associate with other people and engage in political activity. A key component of freedom of political association is the ability to do so with privacy if one chooses. We protect privacy at the ballot because of the concern that failing to do so would chill people’s voting their true conscience. Privacy of the associations and activities that lead up to going to the voting booth matters as well, because this is how we form and discuss our political beliefs. The watchful eye can disrupt and unduly influence these activities.
9. Ability to Change and Have Second Chances
Many people are not static; they change and grow throughout their lives. There is a great value in the ability to have a second chance, to be able to move beyond a mistake, to be able to reinvent oneself. Privacy nurtures this ability. It allows people to grow and mature without being shackled with all the foolish things they might have done in the past. Certainly, not all misdeeds should be shielded, but some should be, because we want to encourage and facilitate growth and improvement.
10. Not Having to Explain or Justify Oneself
An important reason why privacy matters is not having to explain or justify oneself. We may do a lot of things which, if judged from afar by others lacking complete knowledge or understanding, may seem odd or embarrassing or worse. It can be a heavy burden if we constantly have to wonder how everything we do will be perceived by others and have to be at the ready to explain.
So what do we do!!!!
Recognise that Privacy Is a Basic Human Right
Privacy online and offline is a basic human right not because we have something to hide, but because it protects all people whether or not they have something to hide today. You don’t want your neighbor to spy on you, so why should a government or an Internet service be allowed to see and use your data for their own purposes?
Privacy Protects Minorities
Many governments already spy on their citizens to prevent political opposition. Even politicians in Western democracies are increasingly in favor of online surveillance, falsely claiming that this would protect us from terrorist attacks. This is a worrisome development as the right to privacy is crucial when it comes to protecting people with oppositional political views. Autocratic systems around the world show us how dangerous it is to give up our right to privacy – not only for the people affected, but also for a society as a whole: When self-censorship becomes the norm, a true dispute – essential to any democracy – becomes impossible.
Privacy Saves You Money
Companies use your data to show you personalized advertisements. Some people even say they like seeing ads they are interested in, but this form of advertisement is not just invasive, it is also very costly: From online tracking the advertisements company knows exactly what you are looking for, and they more or less know what you are willing to spend. Because of all the data they have accumulated about you and about lots of other Internet users matching your browsing profile, they will not show you the best deal available. Instead they will show you very targeted advertisements that will very likely make you pay more than you should have.
Privacy Is Safety
The Internet is a great place where we can share every idea freely. However, there are a lot of criminals active online, whose only goal is to steal your identity by gaining access to online accounts such as email, Paypal, or Facebook. It is important to keep your online identity secure and protect it from malicious attacks so that no one can use your accounts to steal money.
Companies Must Protect Privacy
The latest Equifax hack is a prime example of how a company should not handle people’s data. Private information must always be securely encrypted so that a potential attacker has no chance of stealing personal information of millions of people. That’s also why a backdoor to encrypted services is never an option. Any backdoor will sooner or later be abused by criminals.
Data Is the Currency of the 21st Century
The problem today is that data is of high value to most online services. As many offer their services for free, their business model depends on gathering users’ data, profiling them and posting targeted ads, or selling the data on to advertisers. This process is only designed to serve one purpose: Make as much money for the company involved as possible. Protection of people’s privacy is only a hassle that costs money – so nothing these companies would want to look after. For this reason, data leaks like the latest Equifax hack are becoming so numerous lately. Companies simply don’t care enough to adequately protect their users’ data against attackers.
People Must Protect Their Privacy Themselves
It would be desirable that this changes, that companies protect their users’ data with strong encryption. However, this costs money, so unless the users’ force companies to protect their data, they will never do it. Fortunately, users have more power than they think: By choosing privacy-friendly services that fully protect their data with encryption, they are forcing all companies to understand our right to privacy what it is: a key selling feature.
How to Protect Your Data
You can make a change today by switching to privacy-friendly, encrypted services. Here are some suggestions:
* Use VPN encryption to protect your Internet traffic such as PIA.
* Use encrypted mail such as Tutanota.
* Use private search engines such as Qwant.
* Use encrypted chat apps.
By making a switch today, you’ll stop the Internet spies from abusing your data! On top of that you fight along with many others for our right to privacy – not only to protect your data, but also to protect our democracy. Do not forget that in the movie Spider man “With great Powers comes great responsibilities” and a little flash back “Internet has become the great power” and the great responsibility is how we use our connected devices.