It has been a year and a half since the Snowden leaks revealed what many long suspected: We are being spied on by our government. We are also being spied on by irresponsible corporations. By now it should be clear that a fundamental part of liberty in the digital age is the ability to control the data that is being mined about us and prevent that data-mining. After all, if we cannot choose who sees our private communications, browsing and spending habits, personal records, etc., can we really be said to be free? In a previous article , we pointed out several tools that can protect your privacy and liberty in the digital age. But, the attitude of many is, “Why should I care? I don’t have anything to hide.”
This is dangerous thinking for several reasons. The idea of digital liberty is still being defined by policymakers. Future generations will inherit the policies that come from our attitude toward these things. Our silence becomes acceptance, which becomes approval in the eyes of both politicians and the next generation of Americans. Imagine the world that would exist if our Founding Fathers had taken that same approach to the tyranny of their day. Thankfully, they understood that whether or not I have anything to hide, privacy is a big part of liberty. That is why the Fourth Amendment was written.
Everyone has something to hide. It’s why we have curtains and blinds over our windows. It’s why we use envelopes for our letters. We know, deep down, that our private lives should stay private. Why should we treat our digital privacy differently? What happens when you need to do an Internet search for an embarrassing medical question? What about a private, intimate text to your spouse? What about that phone call where you argue with your spouse? We do these things in private because they are private. And they ought to stay that way.
Written by Mitchell Shaw
Read more at The New American