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the criminality of a few

4 December 2014 no comment

I have often been given this response, when trumpeting individual and personal privacy:

Why should I worry? I have nothing to hide.

Perhaps when people think about hiding something, they’re thinking of things that people shouldn’t be doing.  That is likely why they make the same mistake that professor of law Daniel Solove highlights in this succinct comic:

I have taken to using a phrase that (I think) I coined on Twitter using the hashtag #onethoughtpony.  It means that only a few seconds’ brain activity goes into most folks’ answers, and they’re satisfied with the result.  My favorite: “…it’s a food product, essentially.”

People think they have nothing to hide because they’ve done nothing wrong.  On the contrary, and this is dumbfoundingly obvious when explained – enjoy the “ohhhhh” you inevitably hear when you say it to someone – you have things to hide because you’ve done things right.  Your bank account info, your tax return, your SSN, your retirement savings, the PIN to your phone, the name of your kid’s pediatrician, the code to your electronic car door lock, ALL your credit card info, et cetera ad infinitum. It’s not that the government is coming to look for stuff they can take you to jail for, its that the bad guys use the same technology as the government does to get your info.  What we learned (or was confirmed, if you wish) from Edward Snowden was that the U.S. government through the NSA is actively working on technology to introduce data-protection weaknesses into… well, everything.  Again, thought-zero is “fine, they’ll find the tourorrists that way.”  Indeed they may, but that weakness is now open to the public.  Of course the one-thought for that is “well, the criminals don’t know about the weakness.” Have you ever heard a cop tell someone what happens when a criminal really wants into their house?

The bad guys are looking for anything – any scrap of info, any way in, any little bit that will help them.  Just because you can’t think of it doesn’t mean a Slavic crimelord with nothing but money, time, and manpower can’t think of it.  And they will, and do.  It’s how they have the money!  The Sony breach in November 2014 was brought about through ONE computer.  The bad guys got in and got it all, simply because we all build our systems with the same technology.  The road map to everything you hold dear is already out there.  So why hand anyone the keys to your door?

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