Privacy? But I have nothing to hide!

Daniel Solove wrote a great article on why privacy matters even if one thinks they have nothing to hide. It is high time to dispel  this myth that if we’re “innocent” that we have nothing to hide.

Let me say it this way: Everyone has some information they do not want to fall into the wrong hands at the wrong time.

You may not have information you think needs to be hidden right now. But in a year, you may decide to run for office. You may have information that you are fine if your local bank sees, but you might be embarrassed if your co-workers had access to it. Otherwise, why not wear your social security number, date of birth and bank accounts on a tee-shirt?

Even if you think you have nothing personal to hide, what about those you love? Parents and grandparents, let me ask you some questions and tell me if they start to make you uncomfortable:

  • What time do your children get out of school?
  • What route to they walk home?
  • How long are they home alone?

There is a strong relationship between privacy and security. Each of the answers to these questions is technically “public” information and could in theory be learned legally by a third party who was very interested in the answers. But that doesn’t mean it’s something we’d want to share with a stranger who suddenly began asking these questions. Let’s face it. Even if we don’t care about our own privacy, surely there is someone’s privacy we do care about.

Everyone has some information they do not want to fall into the wrong hands at the wrong time.

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