Whenever I tell someone that they should worry more about their privacy online, the is almost always: “I don’t need privacy because I have nothing to hide.”

This argument may seem fine, but what they are saying is probably as true as it seems. Everyone has things they want to keep hidden, both online and from their personal lives. There are things you don’t want others to see, moments in life which you are embarrassed about, I guarantee it.

When ever someone uses the “nothing to hide” argument against me. I will calmly ask them to hand me all their passwords to all the online services they actively use, including social media. I tell them that I will copy all the data from these platforms, retain it indefinitely, sell it for profit, and perhaps publish it if the situation calls for it. After all, if they have nothing to hide, then they would be fine with me looking right?

They are usually a little fazed by that, but nonetheless, they reply: “How can I trust that you won’t do anything harmful to my accounts? Like send spam to my contacts, delete my info, ex.”

I say: “Lets say I hypothetically didn’t do that (though I would have the power to). Would you still be okay with it?”

I haven’t met a single person who said yes to that.

Some people will say: “Well, I just want to keep it from people I know, i’m fine with the government looking for security purposes.”

My response:

“Innocent until proven guilty”. This is a very well known legal right. The government should treat you as inncoent unless they have hard, solid evidence for you to be guilty. They should only start looking when they have reasonable evidence to look.

Also, you don’t know what the government, NSA, “Big Five”, etc. does with your data. Your data is being collected in secret. It would be a different matter if you were allowed to consent to it, but as you are not, you are clueless about what is actually happening after your data is processed. For what reason are they collecting your data (can you be so sure its only about security?), what are they doing with it, and are they sharing it with anyone else? These are questions which you cannot answer.

Some obstinate individuals will still remain unconvinced at this point. I bring up this quote:

“Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peacably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe.”

  • Edward Snowden in Permanent Record

Some people have legitimiate and legal things they do which they want to hide, and even if you don’t care, at least spare a thought for others and still argue on the side of privacy.

So, in the end, there really is no reasonable premise for the collection fo your data. Here is a better way to put the “Nothing to Hide” argument:

“If you have nothing to hide, they have no reason to look.”

  • The Hated One, privacy youtube channel