When confronted with surveillance the usual reply is “nothing to hide.”
This answer is wrong. Let me tell you a story.
For over one hundred years, the city of Amsterdam had a census. They know your gender, relation ship status, number of children, parents, where you lived. All this information was used to make life better for everyone. And it worked. People were happy. The city government was efficient. It could base decisions on statistics and data instead of gut feelings. They were the first ones to use computers to efficiently store and handle the data.
May 10, 1940, the Nazis took the city. Suddenly, one bit of information – faith – decided over life and death. The Nazis took the data which had been collected and efficiently rounded up all the people they wanted to murder.
Surveillance is not about what you have to hide, it’s about how you can be hurt. It’s the question how much someone hiding in a faceless organization wants to ruin with your life.
- Vodafone employee accessed my text messages – He was a good guy, trying to protect the company he’s working for.
- NSA staff used spy tools on spouses, ex-lovers: watchdog – Police officers and other people with access to surveillance hardware all over the world were caught doing the same.
- The No Fly List – You won’t know when you’re added and how to get off it.
- Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – It’s an old story, ancient even.
- Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience to Authority – which explains the psychological reasons why people always eventually get corrupted in such systems.