Privacy: about secrets or about democracy?

Everyone Has Something To Hide: Why Privacy Is Important Even If ‘You’ve Done Nothing Wrong’ | Techdirt. 4th August 2010

An old post stuck my mailbox but which has not lost its relevance in the slightest. Privacy is not about having something to hide. Otherwise, privacy rights would not be recognized even when one is in public places. It is about being a human being who can choose when and with whom s/he can interact. Because we have privacy, we have obliged police officers to obtain a warrant before searching private places. Privacy is at the core of a democratic society. Only dictatorships or autocratic regimes don’t give a damn about privacy.

Therefore, we should not give it up as easily as we do, whether it is to fill in our details for a price comparison or to use a website facility. Here I am thinking about Evernote which asks for a date of birth and full contact details. Sorry, but my date of birth is of no relevance to them unless they want to have stats about what I do. Idem for ISPs

Which ISPs Hand Private Surfing Info Over To Secretive Private Group Who Monitors It For The Feds? TechDirt, 3rd August 2010

Abundance And Scarcity In Privacy, TechDirt, 6th August 2010

but abuse of power, in democracies or not, is always a temptation.

Feds Appealing Ruling That Said Warrantless Wiretapping Was Illegal; Will This Backfire? TechDirt, 23 February 2011

At least, in democracies, the rule of law should provide relief even when it takes decades to shake the ‘system’ if there are big mistakes.

For other more recent headlines (mostly US), see:

Feds Say It Doesn’t Matter If No One Reads A Privacy Policy; It Still Means Gov’t Can Have Your Info, TechDirt, 8 April 2011

Feds: 4th Amendment Shouldn’t Apply To Online Emails Because… That Would Make Us Have To Work Harder, TechDirt, 8 April 2011

Once Again, Court Says Homeland Security Is Free To Seize & Search Your Computer Without A Warrant At The Border, TechDirt, 5 April 2011

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Investigation-4- Searches and seizures, Investigation-5- Use of technology(ies), Privacy. Bookmark the permalink.

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