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Joined: 2006-10-02

[url]http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565[/url] (pdf)

"I've Got Nothing to Hide" and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy
DANIEL J. SOLOVE, George Washington University Law School

[QUOTE]The “nothing to hide” argument and its variants are quite prevalent in popular discourse about privacy. Data security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the “most common retort against privacy advocates” Legal scholar Geoffrey Stone refers to it as “all-too-common refrain.” The “nothing to hide” argument is one of the primary arguments made when balancing privacy against security. In its most compelling form, it is an argument that the privacy interest is generally minimal to trivial, thus making the balance against security concerns a foreordained victory for security. Sometimes the “nothing to hide” argument is posed as a question: “If you have nothing to hide, then what do you have to fear?” Others ask: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then what do you have to hide?”

In this essay, I will explore the “nothing to hide” argument and its variants in more depth. Grappling with the “nothing to hide” argument is important, as the argument reflects the sentiments of a wide percentage of the population. In popular discourse, the “nothing to hide” argument’s superficial incantations can readily be refuted. But when the argument is made in its strongest form, it is far more formidable.[/QUOTE]It's a discussion both of dismissal of the term as an invalid argument with regards to stuff like the illegal wiretaps, as well as discussion of the concept of privacy.

It reframes the argument, instead of "I've got nothing to hide, because I'm not guilty of anything" instead to "I don't mind giving up some privacy in exchange for the idea of security."

He also breaks privacy "invasions" down into several categories, such as information gathering, processing, dissemination, and invasion. Each one affects your privacy in a different way, and he argues they should not be lumped together when addressing the concept of privacy.


GP North American Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock" McInnes
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