Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nothing to hide/Nothing to fear

When it comes to the issue of domestic spying, the standard line is "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." Most people may think that they live such inconsequential lives, why should they fear the government spying on them? It's not like we're doing anything to warrant suspicion.

And while this may be true, the underlying layer of "nothing to hide/nothing to fear" is that you will be held responsible for not only your own actions, but the actions of anyone and everyone else you communicate with. If you have a friend or acquaintance that is secretly a member of an organization that the government fears, and you communicate with that person regularly, then the government will also suspect you as being a threat by association.

Thanks to movies and pop culture, people don't realize that "people of interest" to a government spy agency also have kids and hobbies that have nothing to do with their political activities. Until that guy who planted that bomb took that action, he probably chatted happily with you at the arena as you both watched your kids playing hockey. Maybe you both planned on organizing a local street hockey tournament, which meant that you spoke and texted often.

If the government only looks at the meta-data of your exchange, even though you knew nothing of this guy's secret plans, you will look guilty as hell by association. Trying to prove your innocence to a suspicious government will turn your life upside down and hopefully you will land on your feet. Hopefully.

"Nothing to hide/nothing to fear" only makes you responsible for everyone else's actions. Are we really willing to buy this government line at our own expense?