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Culture & Religion

Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is a Terrible Defense of Minor Privacy Violations

Confronting the logic of the "I have nothing to hide" argument.


When I talk with friends and family about online surveillance (whether it be from advertisers, hackers, or governments), I’m often told: Why should I care? I’ve got nothing to hide.

I have nothing to hide. Why would anyone look at me?

The NSA whistleblower himself, Edward Snowden, has confronted why this response is wrong on so many levels.

“Well, so the first thing is, you’re giving up your rights,” Snowden told a crowd at a TED Talk. “You’re saying, “Hey, you know, I don’t think I’m going to need them, so I’m just going to trust that, you know. Let’s get rid of them; it doesn’t really matter; these guys are going to do the right thing. Your rights matter because you never know when you’re going to need them.”


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