Privacy

Big Brother graffitti

I wrote this to send to people whenever I have to defend why privacy matters…which is often.

Privacy matters. It matters even if you (wrongly) believe you have nothing to hide.

Privacy gives you the space and the freedom to be yourself. You don’t act the same way when you’re being watched, nor when you’re around different groups of people. Do you say the same things around your boss and your best friend? Your grandma and your girlfriend? Didn’t think so.

Deciding what to reveal about yourself, when, and to whom gives you depth. It makes you interesting and genuine. It shows that you have social intelligence.

And how can you know that you aren’t doing anything “bad” or worth hiding if you aren’t the one making legal and cultural rules? Today’s accepted behavior could be tomorrow’s dark secret or illegal activity. You can’t be sure that you have nothing to hide when the behavior that crosses that line changes without your knowledge or control.

We lose a lot when companies and governments vacuum up everything they can possibly know about us, including jobs, higher credit scores, dates, fair prices, reputations, comfort, and free speech. The loss of privacy is a huge problem, and we all have a role to play in protecting or diminishing it.

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the future when it looks like we’re headed to Nineteen Eighty-Four, but I refuse to believe it will happen. We can stop it.

I care about privacy because I value a free existence.

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