Privacy Security

Witty retort to “I’ve got nothing to hide”

Since I enjoy the discussion of privacy, especially with regards to the internet, and have serious concerns about the number of large corporations which now track every single page view of internet users, this article by Daniel J. Solove regarding surveillance is really compelling.

It focuses on the claim of surveillance advocates, “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.” (P.S. Thanks to Bruce Schneier for the link.)

The argument goes like this: Government needs to tap phones, look at phone records, watch your public library book consumption in order to find the terrorists. If you are an honest, law-abiding citizen, then this invasion of your privacy should mean nothing.

Most surveillance advocates make the claim that invasion of privacy is no big deal. So, I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite one-liners as a retort to:

“If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.”

And the replies:

  • “Great! Then you don’t mind if I circulate naked pictures of you around the neighborhood, right?”
  • Really? Then I can install keystroke and screen recording software on your computer, and you wouldn’t mind, right?
  • No kidding! Then video cameras in every room of your house would be like “nothing to hide,” right?
  • How about this: Show me all of your bank account balances and your last 3 tax returns.
  • Really? So, how often do you masturbate?

If you have any added retorts, I’d love to see them in the comments!

2 replies on “Witty retort to “I’ve got nothing to hide””

Those retorts may be witty but they don’t make good arguments.
If the government did have cameras in our houses, how many houses would that be? They would be too busy looking for crimes to care about seeing a person masturbate.
After 9/11 everybody was all for more security and were even pissed off at the government for not having stricter procedures. Once that fear subsided people stopped caring about being proactive, which was the problem in the first place, and wanted the government to back off.
How are we expecting the government to get anything done with so much restriction and not to mention that the people that they are trying to protect don’t know even know what they want.
People say that surveillance will lead people to being paranoid but we are already paranoid of the government and on top of that we are living in a state of fear because of terrorist threats.
Then again, I’m the only crazy person in this universe that agrees with surveillance, so who cares what I think.

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