Why Privacy is a Human Right


Privacy is a human right.

It's crucial, says reporter Glenn Greenwald in a TED talk that's summarized on lifehacker.com. Privacy applies to everybody. Wanting to stay private in the cyber world doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It's like singing: Many people sing only in the shower where nobody can really hear them; doesn't mean they're committing a crime.

Greenwald has an issue with the idea that people who want to stay hidden must have something bad to hide, something I've even justified as a reason not to be too concerned. I stand corrected Mr. Greenwald.. He points out the hypocrisy of the anti-privacy crowd:

"...the people that say that, that privacy isn't really important, they don't actually believe it. And the way that you know that they don't actually believe it, is that while they say with their words 'privacy doesn't matter,' with their actions they take all kinds of steps to safeguard their privacy. They put passwords on their email and their social media accounts, they put locks on their bedroom and bathroom doors. All steps designed to prevent other people from entering what they consider their private realm and knowing what it is that they don't want other people to know." 

Greenwald adds that the dynamics change when we know we're being watched: "Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle, though much more effective, means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, and is much more effective than brute force could ever be." 

Mass surveillance promotes a herd mentality. Feeling watched all the time makes people act like little toy soldiers huddled in a black box.

Privacy really has nothing to do with "good" people or "bad" people. Privacy is a concept that everyone is entitled to, and wanting it does not define how good or bad a person is. It's something we should fight for and feel entitled to.

You're not helpless in this matter. You can learn, and should learn, all you can about privacy. Honor the companies that value your privacy. Try not to patronize the ones that don't care.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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