The “nothing to hide” argument speaks to some problems, but not to others. It represents a singular and narrow way of conceiving of privacy, and it wins by excluding consideration of the other problems often raised in government surveillance and data mining programs. When engaged with directly, the “nothing to hide” argument can ensnare, for it forces the debate to focus on its narrow understanding of privacy. But when confronted with the plurality of privacy problems implicated by government data collection and use beyond surveillance and disclosure, the “nothing to hide” argument, in the end, has nothing to say.
Daniel J. Solove
“I’VE GOT NOTHING TO HIDE” AND OTHER MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF PRIVACY
George Washington University Law School
[A rather “dry” intellectual essay. Some of the better points are that government survelance changes the power balance between the individual and the politically powerful and data can be used for purposes beyond what it was orginally intended for. For example (my example, not the authors) 4473’s are intended to enable finding the user of a gun associated with a crime but can also be used to confisicate firearms from everyone. But if you want a snappy answer for someone who claims they don’t have anything to hide tell them to drop all their clothes, you want a picture. Then you want to know all their sex partners and from this point forward you want a live video feed of all their sexual encounters.–Joe]