Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by lotuseclat79, Jun 13, 2013.

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  1. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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  2. JackmanG

    JackmanG Former Poster

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    Good ol' Moxie. More links and thoughts on the subject provided here.
     
  3. hidden

    hidden Registered Member

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    Long form post, but we can't do 'Privacy' in a soundbite.

    http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

     
  4. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    I didn't find the article very persuasive. Indeed most of the commentary about the vast complexity of the legal system and the possibility of statements being used against you has nothing specifically to do with PRISM, phone metadata, or any other recent "discovery" regarding governmental information gathering power. Yes, the United States Code is very complex, but how is that directly relevant to one's expectation of privacy, or lack thereof, on essentially public networks?

    Personally, I am somewhat taken aback that anyone is even shocked by any of this. Where have people been living for the past 15 years? Seriously. Has no one ever heard of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)? Now I understand that CALEA could be interpreted in slightly different ways, has (or is supposed to have) various legal safeguards, and does not necessarily directly equate with these recent mass gathering programs. Yet, nevertheless, when I learned of it over ten years ago, I simply assumed that all of the recently announced programs (and more) were the likely end result. As another thread pointed out, governmental information gathering programs and technologies have even been portrayed in the mass media numerous times in various incarnations through magazine articles, books, and movies. This IT privacy battle was fought and decided in the nineties. You may be outraged now, but you have been quite naive if you didn't operate under the assumption that it has been occurring all of this time.

    As to whether it is right or not... Sure, in a perfect, idyllic world I might agree with those outraged. But in the real world, where evil and crazy people do exist I'm not so confident or unwary. An expectation of privacy on the phone or Internet has always been rather silly. Indeed the earliest phone systems were "party lines" where any friend or neighbor could listen in. Nor do I even really believe in the rather recent legal notion of some Constitutionally protected right of privacy. As far as I know, the word privacy is nowhere in the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights.

    To me, everything hinges on one's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment regarding "unreasonable searches and seizures." Granted, each person might have a differing idea as to what is reasonable; but that doesn't mean that any one individual such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, or any other "whistleblower" should get to unilaterally decide what is reasonable or not. The government's position at least was passed through Congress, subjected to review and oversight by all three branches of the Federal government, and carried out by thousands of government employees that likely take strong exception to Snowden's actions and accusations. Don't be so quick to judge those attempting to protect their nation as being mere tools or cogs in the Orwellian dystopia, nor hasty to refer to those who knowingly violate their oaths and vows as heroes. Life is rarely that simple, and the truth lies in the middle.
     
  5. JackmanG

    JackmanG Former Poster

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    I didn't think the article was supposed to be about PRISM or phone metadata. I was under the impression it was about "Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance".


    It's not "directly" relevant, but I don't think anyone said it was. It is relevant only one step removed...Lack of privacy from government + enough laws that the average person commits 3 felonies per day = despotism.

    The point Moxie was making was, again, ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance.



    I think there's the rub. It depends on what people you recognize as "evil and crazy". I think those with experience in dealing with government in this realm like Moxie and the EFF would suggest a broader scope than the one you're probably using.


    Indeed the earliest settlements in the old West frontier were "family houses" where a young married couple shared a single room cabin, and had intimate relations with their family members in the beds nearby.

    But times change.


    You don't "believe" in it? What do you mean by that exactly?


    Neither does the word "democracy". o_O


    No that's isn't true, and it's a large part of the problem. Glenn Greenwald explains...



    That's a really ironic statement. There are many who would argue that the simplistic view is the one you seem to be taking, that those in power are just there to protect everyone else and that's all they're ever doing...everything they do is just to "catch the bad guys", and anyone who suggests otherwise or tries to provide some transparency about the things they do in secret is a criminal and a traitor. This is largely what I was talking about here.


    This is even more ironic. What could be more simplistic than alleging life is made up of extremes...there's "this extreme" and "that extreme", and "the truth is in the middle." There's "left-wing" and "right-wing", and the trick is finding balance in the middle. There's Papa Bear's porridge and Mama Bear's porridge...and "juuuust right" is found in Baby Bear's porridge right in the middle.
     
  6. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    For me the answer is simple: it is not right. Period. No matter how many crazy people are out there, keeping me under surveillance won't make them sane, nor make them disappear.

    Your views are too US centric. I don't live in the US, and from my perspective as an European citizen, I am being spied upon, and that is very wrong.
     
  7. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    I'm not going to go directly line by line, but my commentary is essentially in sequential rebuttal. The author of the article tried to introduce legal complexity as an excuse or rationalization for his position. It really was nothing of the sort. The legal commentary to which he refers is most likely in reference to the myriad cases regarding the use, or lack of use, of the Miranda warning.

    "Nothing to hide" is a valid position irregardless of his commentary. If I knowingly decide to talk to the Feds about myself when falsely accused of some heinous crime -- because I have nothing to hide -- then that is not necessarily undercut by some irrelevant and de minimis possibility that I perhaps violated some regulation regarding undersized lobster possession as to which he speaks. By the way, it should be noted, that not all 50 volumes or "titles" of the United States Code are criminal in nature, but rather are civil and/or administrative in nature (i.e., involve permits and fines as opposed to sentencing and jail time). I believe only Title 18 is in regards to the Federal criminal code.

    I do believe you are correct: the Constitution does not use the word democracy. This lacking is for a very good reason: the United States isn't a Democracy. Technically, and formally, we are a federated Republic, and the word Republican is used Article IV, section 4: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government..."

    I also don't dispute that each of you, and Mr. Snowden himself, are entitled to a varying opinion on what is reasonable. It is fine that you don't agree with me. But speak then to your elected representative, if you are a US citizen. If you are not, then, I do somewhat sympathize with your position... Yet I find it specious, as I have stated in the other thread in this forum. How do you know your government is not doing or participating in the same or similar activities? I would suggest that they probably are.

    As was noted, technologies change, but if I shout out at the world... Is anyone truly and honestly surprised in a lack of privacy? Two hundred years ago, living in a forest, I might have had an expectation of privacy even while shouting. Today, no. Sending an email across the Internet, making phone calls, sending text messages, posting to a Facebook account (almost irregardless of what "privacy" settings you use), posting to Twitter, etc are all the modern day equivalent of shouting. They are all public communication. You may think your Facebook post or text message is only for friends, but how do you know or how can you truly expect that what you say might not be re-posted or re-texted?

    The simple truth is that you want to believe governments invariably will act with malicious intent, or with more malice than good. I disagree. That doesn't mean that I am ignorant to the possibility of governmental excess, it just means I perhaps weigh the likelihood of positive and negative outcomes differently than you, and that is OK.
     
  8. hidden

    hidden Registered Member

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    Alec, we seem to be talking past each other.

    This is NOT about voluntary disclosure.

    Permits and fines and can't fly and can't insure and can't get a job and ....
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102300314.html
    Agree, not all these data bases are secret YET....

    And if our electeds and the courts are powerless by means of secrecy and blatant lying?
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/01/02/53567.htm

    So, no whining about genocide by other countries?

    Few on this forum are truly surprised. Apparently millions of other citizens are. I expect a lot more of our neighbors would be peeping into our bedrooms and eliminating our expectations of privacy if we didn't pass laws. We did pass a law in the wake of Watergate; it was blatantly violated. Congress retroactively forgave the felons, so that made it OK.

    Without external controls human systems move to act in their own interest as internally determined. 'Checks and balances' is a sine qua non of a free society. Secrecy is the fundamental tool for its deconstruction.

    Well, what can I say.....
     
  9. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    You might be right, and my government might participate in similar activities. If this is the case, then I have a (limited) power over them when the election time comes in my country. But I have no power whatsoever over the US government, and that makes this whole story so wrong. Also, the fact that one government does something wrong (mine), that doesn't excuse the actions of another one (US in this case).
     
  10. blacknight

    blacknight Registered Member

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    Think the same ! European countries had, and have, many problems with terrorism, long before USA: Rote Armee Fraktion, Brigate Rosse, Action directe, fascist terrorism, IRA, ETA, fundamentalist terrorism....but Europe has a different idea of what is acceptable for freedom and democracy.
     
  11. DOSawaits

    DOSawaits Registered Member

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    The word "democracy" only exists to *force* other nations your own global capitalism. It has nothing to do with human rights, or whatever you want to believe it should mean.
     
  12. blacknight

    blacknight Registered Member

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    For democracy I meant the rights of the citizens, of the men as men, and the relationship among the elected representatives and the people that elected them. With thousand faults and fixes, it exixst and works from a long time. :)
     
  13. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    The word might be used for those purposes, yes. But the concept exists for a long time, and long before the term "capitalism" had any meaning. The democracy, no matter how flawed it might be in its various implementations, it is still the best form of government invented and applied by humans. As for the "Human rights", they are a welcomed addition to democracy, but they weren't necessarily included in the original concept of democracy.
     
  14. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Thread Closed As Per Policy.
     
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