(Falkvinge 2012) Debunking the dangerous “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”

Falkvinge, Rick. Debunking the dangerous “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. Falkvinge on Infopolicy. 2012 Jul 19. Available from: http://falkvinge.net/2012/07/19/debunking-the-dangerous-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear/. Accessed 2012 Jul 20. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/69JILOOK7.

Falkvinge defends privacy rights against the argument “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”, commonly used to justify placing an absolute priority on efficient law enforcement, and thus to expand surveillance. He makes four points:

  1. The rules may change (mission creep; collected information may be used for purposes other than those originally used to justify surveillance).
  2. It’s not you who determine if you have something to fear. Surveillance programs may work from faulty data; they may use fallible, probabilistic profiling schemes that will induce self-censorship of innocent but suspicious-looking behaviors; and they may be based on values alien to those of the individual subject to surveillance.
  3. Laws must be broken for society to progress. Some behaviors now commonly regarded as human rights, such as homosexual activity, were once crimes, and organized movements for their legalization could only develop in secret. We cannot reasonably assume that the law is always right and criminals (in the purely legal, as opposed to moral, sense of the word) are always wrong.
  4. Privacy is a basic human need. We are strongly motivated to conceal many of our activities for reasons that have nothing to do with their moral or legal status.



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