Why Privacy is Important

Why Privacy is Important

It's not that I have something to hide.

It's that I have nothing to share. Privacy is the selective revealing of your Self to your peers. You have many thoughts in your mind which you choose to never tell anyone, and many of your actions are never witnessed by another person. The ability to keep a secret is an essential part of the human experience.

  • Why do you draw the curtains at night?
  • Why do you close the door when in the shower?
  • Why do you send your love letters only to your spouse?

Economic trade of goods and services is based on mutual beneficial voluntary action. But when an outside authority demands that the peers reveal the details of their exchange, then they must beg for permission of every act. Yet individuals can use the tools of self-defense at their disposal to regain their sovereignty.

Without financial privacy, there is no human dignity.

Privacy? I don't have anything to hide.

Over the last 16 months, as I've debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, "I don't really worry about invasions of privacy because I don't have anything to hide." I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, "Here's my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you're doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you're not a bad person, if you're doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide." Not a single person has taken me up on that offer. - Glenn Greenwald in Why privacy matters - TED Talk (opens in a new tab)

The primary reason for window curtains in our house, is to stop people from being able to see in. The reason we don’t want them to see in is because we consider much of what we do inside our homes to be private. Whether that be having dinner at the table, watching a movie with your kids, or even engaging in intimate or sexual acts with your partner. None of these things are illegal by any means but even knowing this, we still keep the curtains and blinds on our windows. We clearly have this strong desire for privacy when it comes to our personal life and the public. - Joshua in The Crypto Paper (opens in a new tab)

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Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say. - Edward Snowden on Reddit (opens in a new tab)

The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. - Edward Snowden in The Guardian (opens in a new tab)

We all need places where we can go to explore without the judgmental eyes of other people being cast upon us, only in a realm where we're not being watched can we really test the limits of who we want to be. It's really in the private realm where dissent, creativity and personal exploration lie. - Glenn Greenwald in Huffington Post (opens in a new tab)

This article is forked from Wasabi Docs (opens in a new tab)