Online Privacy – Why it Matters and How to Get Started

Online Privacy – Why it Matters and How to Get Started

The Right to Privacy is enshrined in the constitutions of most functional democracies. To some extent USA, UK, Canada, the EU and India all understand this as a basic human right.

Governments snooping on their citizens isn’t a new thing. Most countries justify overbearing surveillance on their citizens as required for national security (like the USA). Several other countries also discuss how it is necessary to prevent’moral corruption’ of the citizens – India, for example has imposed a ban on porn. Although some of these policies are often enacted following tragic events in the face of public outcry – the Patriot Act being signed into law after 9/11 is a prominent example, the long term results can be catastrophic. The result is now a world, especially, an internet world, where privacy is at a premium.

It basically states that if you have got nothing to hide, you should not be afraid. Truth, however, is far more nuanced. Someone might simply be uncomfortable with the concept of unknown intelligence officials going through their private data. Instead, someone else might be fighting to expose corrupt/illegal activities in a government, where those being researched might have access to the personal information of the investigator. It doesn’t even need to be a nefarious government. It can just be a private company misusing the information of its users for the purposes of financial gain. The PRISM program proves that if the company is supposedly morally above board, authorities can induce them to turn over information.

It’s difficult to get an abstract notion to be cared about by most people unless it affects them directly. John Oliver, the host of Week Tonight on HBO, did an interview with Edward Snowden where he researched a way. Snowden has mentioned multiple times how his colleagues in the US Intelligence Agencies would frequently look at material that was confidential and treat it like a joke. In an AMA (Ask-Me-Anything) he did on Reddit, Snowden gave the most concise argument against the’Nothing to Hide’ announcement That’s possible
Arguing because you have nothing to hide that you don’t care about the right to privacy is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say – Edward Snowden

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