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Nothing to hide

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Tonight I spoke with my girlfriend on the phone and we talked for two hours about all kinds of topics. One topic was that I don’t think corona tracking apps, where the data is stored centrally, are a good idea because of privacy and stuff. My girlfriend, on the other hand, said why is privacy important at all? The argument that nobody needs to know what I do with whom, when, where and for how long was not convincing to her. She said that I track my runs via GPS anyway. And she asked who would be interested in your data if you are not famous or something?

I know that privacy is important to me and I always make sure to use services that are as privacy friendly as possible, but somehow I lack good and convincing arguments for people who are less technically interested. Is it because for me the term data is less abstract and I know more about what would be technically possible (which scares me a little, and makes me care about privacy more)?

DuckDuckGo has a blog article with three reasons why the argument that you have nothing to hide is flawed. Two points that might help me argument in the future:

We change our behavior when we’re being watched, which is made obvious when voting; hence, an argument can be made that privacy in voting underpins democracy.

You need privacy to avoid unfortunately common threats like identity theft, manipulation through ads, discrimination based on your personal information, harassment, the filter bubble, and many other real harms that arise from invasions of privacy.

Interesting is also the quote from Snowden that I found on Wikipedia:

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”

But what is your top counter-argument against “I have nothing to hide”?

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Jan-Lukas Else
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