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

Most Americans value privacy and oppose mass surveillance.

The minority who don’t – and who think spying is okay because they have “nothing to hide” –  are grossly misinformed (and don’t know that spying is meant to crush dissent and consolidate powernot stop terrorism).

Edward Snowden noted today in a Q&A on Reddit:

Some might say “I don’t care if they violate my privacy; I’ve got nothing to hide.” Help them understand that they are misunderstanding the fundamental nature of human rights. Nobody needs to justify why they “need” a right: the burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. But even if they did, you can’t give away the rights of others because they’re not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.

But even if they could, help them think for a moment about what they’re saying. 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.


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  • Demonocracy

    Edward Snowden 2016

    • kimyo

      1) he’ll probably have to work remotely for at least the first couple of years.
      2) diebold will have to be removed from the process.

      • truthtime

        3) Dismantling of the CIA; if not there are many creative ways of how they’ll “handle” him – “car accident” “Lone nut shooter” “nail gun accident”

  • Ryan

    “our” politicians are RABID about THEIR privacy even as they tell you that you do not “need” any.

  • magchiel matthijsen

    magchielc That sounds like a wise man.

  • RKae

    People’s beliefs and attitudes follow technology.

    After the pill and “safe” abortion were invented, there was no way – NO WAY – that the old sexual ethic would survive. The wrongness of adultery, fornication and recreational sex could not withstand the onslaught of the technology to free people from the (earthly) consequences of their actions.

    Now that we have a communication structure that is inherently unsecured, people just adapt. They shrug. “Oh, well. Can’t stop it. Might as well get used to it.”

    People are too weak. They are too easily attracted by ease, and that’s the very thing that technology always promises to provide.

  • ClubToTheHead

    Whenever anyone says they have nothing to hide I ask them if they would let me look through their wallet.

    I assure them that they have nothing to fear because I once held a top secret security clearance, and that I am not that different from any other such security clearance holders who would peruse their private information.

    None have handed their wallets over to me.

    Most Americans are too cowed by an oppressive government to assert their rights for fear of attracting suspicion based on that assertion.

    • Nicely sated and presented patriot!

    • Charles Davy

      That’s a stupid comparison for obvious reasons.

  • Wily

    The general liberal actually have very low IQ’s & they’ll be the biggest screamers when they finally get it – which it’ll be to late then! Ironically, many of them have the most to hide but just don’t get it!

    • Nick

      I can’t even explain how many things are wrong with this statement. Number one, you have no factual evidence demonstrating a correlation between liberals and lower intellectual quotients. Number two, you didn’t specify the type of liberal you are talking about. There are people who believe in liberty and freedom who don’t support extremist ideas like putting down republicans and anyone who isn’t a pot smoking hippy. People who are Liberals can also have Republican or Democratic beliefs. Also you should work on your grammar and word choice as your vocabulary can be compared to that of a child. Check yourself before you speak on subjects that are recondite to your addle brain you nihilistic degenerate motherfucker.

    • Brett

      In all of my life, ill admit it is only 20 years long, but within those 20 years i have never heard a republican speak (or type) an insightful comment. It appears to me that republicans have no specific plans or wishes they just like to call people stupid.

      On paper, i would believe i am a republican; less government, more independence and possible more freedom it always appears that this is what they are supposed to stand for. however they’re only strategy to get freedom is to abolish any kind of laws which aim to provide people with average or lesser incomes with support such and health care that cant be denied, or just helping people who were unlucky and now are not able to feed their children. Republicans only seem to focus on foreign policy, ask any candidate about the middle east and they’ll talk for hours about sending out american troops to fight and die. If you ask them to talk about some domestic they will just say the current policies need to be replaced. If they could ever name one thing they would do to make the working class of america any easier to survive in i would be able to support them. But in this generation it is just an atrocity what Americans can want to do to one another.

  • 05/23/2015 Rand Paul Blocks Extension Of Patriot Act, Future Of Illegal NSA Spying On Americans In Limbo

    While an extension of the Patriot Act, that landmark bill which ushered in the America’s Big Brother, “turnkey totalitarian state” (previewed here long before Edward Snowden’s shocking revelations), is just a matter of time, supporters of the Fourth Amendment scored a brief victory last night when following yet another marathon 10 hour filibuster and refusal to play by the script by Rand Paul, the Senate failed to extend the Patriot Act, leaving the future of America’s “war against terrorists” but really against “enemies domestic”, i.e., anyone who uses email, has a cell phone or in any other electronic way communicates with others, in limbo.

  • Charles Davy

    What a stupid article. All human rights can be supported by secular reasoning. Free speech allows the free flow of ideas, right to justice ensures all members of society are treated equally, ect.

    The same can’t be said for privacy? What benefit does privacy provide?
    It doesn’t unless you are doing something wrong.

    • MetroAndroid

      How about the ability to NOT have everyone on planet earth, including your family, watch while you have perfectly legal, but kinky sex with your wife? Imagine your 9 year old son being able to see and hear everything you’ve ever done, said, perhaps even thought at the push of a button. And of course, adolescents going through puberty wouldn’t have the right to masturbate in private. Wonderful world it would be, huh?