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    I’ve never actually seen anyone say that they don’t care abiut privacy because they have nothing to hide. I’ll grant that as a programmer I’m predisposed to associating with people in the cypherpunk/tech libertarian social spheres, but when I think about the decidedly nontechnical people in my life, I can’t imagine any of them saying that they don’t care about privacy because they have nothing to hide.

    What I do hear them say is that they either care less about privacy than about other things that privacy trades-off against, or that they don’t think they can effectively safeguard their privacy against the realistic threats to it and therefore don’t want to bother to try. I was talking with someone about my age the other day about being forced to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7, and somehow it came up that Windows 10 phones home to Microsoft in a bunch of different ways. My friend wasn’t happy about this, but he was resigned to it. Between Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other large tech companies, he felt like he had no choice but to “lick the boot” (using that specific and rather visceral metaphor). He also blamed the US government for not standing up to big tech companies on behalf of users, but when I pressed him a bit he didn’t have any specific ideas about what laws he would like to see to safeguard privacy.

    I think this sort of attitude is pretty pervasive - see also memes like this one. Ordinary average people do think of privacy as something they ought to care about in the context of computer technology, but they don’t feel like they have the tools to do anything about it, or care less about privacy than about having the fruits of privacy-unfriendly technologies.

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      One of the easiest arguments about this is: “YOU don’t get to decide that you have nothing to hide when you give up your privacy.”

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        I also like to use the formulation: “You don’t have anything to hide at this moment, from this government.

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          Came here to say exactly this - it’s more that you don’t have anything to hide right now, but what is considered legal or illegal can change at pretty much any time.

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          Another alternative: you may not care about people collecting your private data, but you probably do care about people using your data to exploit you.

          I think targeted ads for commercial products are fine. But hyper-targeted political ads designed to manipulate and misinform? Hard no.

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            Another alternative: you may not care about people collecting your private data, but you probably do care about people using your data to exploit you.

            These arguments never work.

            That’s the price you pay for using the Internet. You can’t get away from it. Otherwise how can anyone fund their Web site?

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              Historically, no. Since Cambridge Analytica, yes they definitely do.

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              I think targeted ads for commercial products are fine. But hyper-targeted political ads designed to manipulate and misinform? Hard no.

              I think people are getting more and more sensitive regarding targeted ads as well. I’ve heard non-technical people complain that companies like Facebook serve them ads related to a product they talked about with somebody or they’ve browsed on the internet. They feel like they are manipulated into buying those products.

              As for political ads, it might be different elsewhere, but I’ve never seen somebody react well to political ads. However, I feel that those hyper-targeted political ads are somewhat of a myth.

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            the term “privacy” puts an over-emphasis on individual concerns. the problem with mass surveillance is that it concentrates power in the hands of those with the means to view and analyze our data. if my neighbor’s data contributes to that concentration of power, that affects me, so it is not an individual matter.

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              Very well put; I think your point emphasises how we should all do more to help others, yet most people still don’t seem to care and this doesn’t help our cause.

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              Sadly, I don’t think most of these argument are convincing, if you give them an unfavourable reading:

              Privacy is a basic human right […] Why would you not care about one of your human rights?

              It’s a lot harder for most people to accept this, and even if they do, it’s placed on a lower level in some implicit hierarchy. It seems to me that post people, assuming that they even place a value on basic human rights, don’t think that fair trail and right to life are quite as important as (internet) privacy. And on top of that it’s pretty abstract too.

              For example Mark Zuckerberg spent $30m (£18.8m) buying four houses that surround his own home in California in 2016. “Why?” you might ask, because he cares about his privacy.

              But, they will say, he’s a important millionaire, he has enemies and there is valuable information to be gained from him – I am boring and it’s not worth spying on me extensively. Even if Zuckerberg is related to the entire privacy issue, arguing via

              1. a billionaire
              2. real world vs. digital privacy

              makes this argument weaker, imo.

              Thats why we lock the door when we go to the toilet or why we close the curtains to stop people looking into our homes.

              Here again, it’s immediate privacy in the case of a family member accidentally marching into the toilet or the nosey neighbour. How this is related to Facebook tracking your behaviour with like buttons, or Google via “cookies” is a lot harder for most people to follow.

              If you look at dictatorships from all periods of time up to the present, they all rely on the basis that people can’t know the truth if you don’t give them it.

              This kind of argument makes one seem overly-dramatic. We don’t live in a dictatorship, is an way to dismiss this point, leaving only the stench of helpless arguing around your point.

              With no privacy there is no room for freedom of expression, without freedom of expression you can’t give your own opinion, laying the path for limitation of the press which inevitably leads to censorship and the eventual fall of democracy.

              This falls right back into the same point. If you believe

              1. we live in a democracy
              2. the state defends democracy
              3. censorship will only affect anti-democratic opinions

              you have nothing to fear, nothing to listen to. There is nothing to fear.

              To conclude: Privacy Matters. It’s undeniable.

              I’m sorry, but it seems to be. That’s not to say that the arguments I have sketched are valid, just that you won’t convince someone who’s either uncertain or believes that privacy is a price worth paying.

              Like many debates, the initial arguments are really not what it’s about. It’s a facade, hiding beneath a more or less thin layer the real issues, much more complicated and probably more controversial. It’s easy to accept “if you’re not the customer, you’re the product”, it’s a lot harder to convince someone who doesn’t immediately recognize it, of why this is a problem.

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                You can posture that ‘there is nothing to fear’…

                However, the more detailed information about you (information asymmetry) can be significantly used at any later date. The worth of that information doesn’t have to be immediately exploited. I can easily imagine it being used for: sales, marketing, insurance, academia, job prospects, credit industries, medical, etc.

                Worse yet, there’s that book “3 Felonies a Day”. All that information and text from and about you is also evidence… Even if you weren’t aware it was even a crime.

                “you have nothing to fear, nothing to listen to. There is nothing to fear.”…. That you’re aware of. And your awareness ends at the tip of your nose.

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                  Firstly thanks for the criticism, I’m by no means a professional writer and this sort of analysis will really help me when it comes to improving my articles. In response to your points: “It’s a lot harder for most people to accept this.” I understand this, and completely agree with you later point that “fair trail and right to life are quite as important as (internet) privacy.”. The point of this article was to try to alter this opinion, yet I doubt anyone who doesn’t already care has read it. “he’s a important millionaire, he has enemies and there is valuable information to be gained from him “ While this is all true, I would say that we all have some information we would prefer others not to have access to, yet obviously if you run a massive company you might have more ‘valuable’ information to ‘steal’. Lots of people say why would google spy one ME, to which I reply money. Once they can accept this (and that it js inhumane), people are often more likely to start doing something about their online privacy. I put the analogy about locking to demonstrate that while people claim not to care about their privacy, deep down they actually do. Admittedly, being over-dramatic about democracy probably didn’t help my cause, as it makes my argument seem more like a conspiracy theory. Another thing I often say (which sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie) is: “Data is knowledge, knowledge is power. And if you stop caring about your privacy then that data, and power, becomes available to someone who might not have good intents.” I think user jwconway makes good points about the “nothing to fear” argument, so I won’t write my own response. You are entirely right that “the initial argument are not what its really about”, so I hope I would be able to convince people that privacy does matter, in a better way than I have here.

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                  Something that sadly is largely ignored in relation to this is that especially in today’s world, usually you don’t only make that decision for yourself. The most famous example is email, but it also applies to photography, especially geotagged, to pretty much any communication and human interaction.

                  So even if one says that they have nothing to hide, should they admit that someone they interact with might have to decide it’s worthwhile to keep in mind that the decision is made for these people. Think about doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, anything related to being out late, being at places related to religion, sexuality, etc.

                  It’s easy to accidentally publish other people’s secrets or at least harm their privacy these days.

                  In many situations it’s (intentionally or not) encouraged. See things like outlines of military bases thanks to running apps, etc.

                  I think it makes sense to raise awareness of that, both in the public, but also in companies we work for. If we want to have huge user bases the chance of such situation is increasing. I don’t think such principles should be given up just because one gets paid for doing so. I think leaving a job for such a reason should be protected by law.