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Nothing to hide?
December 9, 2012 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Why Privacy Matters, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, by Daniel J. Solove
The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the "most common retort against privacy advocates." ... To evaluate the nothing-to-hide argument, we should begin by looking at how its adherents understand privacy. Nearly every law or policy involving privacy depends upon a particular understanding of what privacy is. The way problems are conceived has a tremendous impact on the legal and policy solutions used to solve them.

Daniel J. Solove is the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School, the author of the papers A Taxonomy of Privacy and 'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy, and the book Understanding Privacy .

He has also written on Student Privacy In Peril and was interviewed by the ACLU. He spoke to George Mason University about his recent book Nothing To Hide.
posted by the man of twists and turns (67 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have so fucking much to hide, that's why I use a handle on MetaFilter.
posted by Xurando at 5:48 AM on December 9, 2012


He's right, but his argument is so diffuse it lacks any oomph. We need tougher privacy arguments than that to persuade people who aren't bothered about the loss of privacy that it's something they need to be bothered about.
posted by unSane at 5:50 AM on December 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


How about "the more of yourself you expose, the easier it is for someone to pretend to be you. Privacy isn't necessarily about 'having something to hide', it's also about making sure your identity remains under your control."
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:02 AM on December 9, 2012 [30 favorites]


Previously, sort of.

Nice to see someone try to go out and taxonomize and define privacy, but I still have my doubts as to whether that can make a difference. The real issue is one of sociolegal culture: are we a people who place the highest value on social control at the cost of a measure of autonomy, or on privacy at the cost of a measure of order? Even on the Blue, we don't seem to be anywhere near a consensus.
posted by fifthrider at 6:04 AM on December 9, 2012


He's right, but his argument is so diffuse it lacks any oomph.

In fairness, as noted at the end, "This essay is an excerpt from his new book" -- to me, it feels like an introduction, of sorts, and can't be expected to cover everything with oomph.

OTOH, this:

"Retorts to the nothing-to-hide argument about exposing people's naked bodies or their deepest secrets are relevant only if the government is likely to gather this kind of information. In many instances, hardly anyone will see the information, and it won't be disclosed to the public."

Am I misremembering the Ivy school that used to photograph its students, naked, with their eyes blacked out? And that these pictures are referenced, if not published on the web? My under-caffeinated brain says Yale or Harvard, and that the pictures (framed as medical, rather than as lewd) include one of a famous woman writer. Is the U.S. government *not* hoovering up everything that appears on the internet?
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:14 AM on December 9, 2012


MonkeyToes: Wasn't just one.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:28 AM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Being named Roger Williams has been both a blessing and a curse. For the most part I can admit that without revealing anything useful. Go looking for me -- I'll wait. You'll find the entire state of Rhode Island, then get lost in a sea of other people none of whom is likely to be me. I can even tell you I live in New Orleans -- hell, even the suburb of Mandeville. Think you found me in the phone book? Think again, I don't have a landline.

But the terrifying flipside of that is the secret aggregation mentioned, conducted not only by the government but by unaccountable entities like Facebook. Is the picture or purchase record or travel document they scrape into my folder mine, or that of one of my innumerable doppelgangers?

At least once a year on flying back into the US I'm flagged for "extra security." Even though I travel with two photo ID's (one a TWIC card, which has full biometric data and gives me access to parts of the airport the TSA guys can't go) they have to follow some weird process to clear the flag on my name in a database where some fucking moron thought lastname-firstname was an appropriate index record.

This is common enough that, last time it happened in Houston, I was ushered to a different room than previously and a little group of us were informed that we were undergoing a special process because we had very common names. So they knew it was bullshit but instead of fixing the bullshit the local agents tried to streamline it for us.

So what happens when Facebook gets a subpoena for the profile they've been bulding of "Roger Williams from Mandeville who hasn't joined us yet?" Who will believe that this impressive dossier is a meaningless mishmash? I know what I have to hide, and it isn't nothing. But I don't know what those other guys might have to hide that's getting piled onto the file with my name.
posted by localroger at 6:41 AM on December 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well, knowing that you're localroger will help pin it down.
posted by brokkr at 6:47 AM on December 9, 2012


Onion : CIA's Facebook Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 6:55 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Privacy isn't necessarily about 'having something to hide', it's also about making sure your identity remains under your control.

How about: Privacy isn't necessarily about having something to hide or protecting your identity. It's also about just declining to share every detail with everyone and you don't need to know my reasons.
posted by DU at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, knowing that you're localroger will help pin it down.

It's a good thing my driver's license and all my credit cards have localroger printed on them to keep that clear. Oh wait...
posted by localroger at 6:58 AM on December 9, 2012


Given how wrong he gets this one paragraph, I'm not sure why I should take anything this so-called 'expert' has to say seriously:

In Britain, for example, the government has installed millions of public-surveillance cameras in cities and towns, which are watched by officials via closed-circuit television. In a campaign slogan for the program, the government declares: "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear."

There is no 'government' programme of public surveillance. Some local police forces, city councils, etc. have CCTV cameras for crime control, traffic, etc. A report from 2011 shows that there are actually around 1.85m cameras in operation in the UK, 92% of which are privately owned.

Googling the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' phrase, the overwhelmingly dominant response are links to this article. I can find no record of the British government saying it or anything like it.

Maybe he's cultivating this level of inaccuracy so the state doesn't actually consider him a real threat?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:13 AM on December 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


localroger: "a little group of us were informed that we were undergoing a special process because we had very common names"

On my last credit report it was mentioned that I lost points for having a common name (thus making it hard for them to verify whether some financial history was mine or not). They have a numeric code for it and everything.

But given the relative ambiguity and level of noise it adds to vanity searches, I would say it is worth it.

Just based on the amount of noise in google searches, I think parents should seriously consider giving their kids the most generic names possible.
posted by idiopath at 7:13 AM on December 9, 2012


Seems like almost the reverse for some MiFites.

"Privacy" will be seen to be a very short historical anomaly, a quaint 20th century conceit like socialism or free-love. Clearly facebookians prefer to be interconnected, want as much of the world to be aware of the vital events and amusing bowel movements on a daily or hourly.

When there are no secrets in the world, there will be no need for this privacy thing.
posted by sammyo at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


When there are no secrets in the world Christmas will suck.
posted by srboisvert at 8:00 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


srboisvert: "When there are no secrets in the world Christmas will suck."

why wait that long?
posted by idiopath at 8:08 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


A report from 2011 shows that there are actually around 1.85m cameras in operation in the UK, 92% of which are privately owned.

Do you have a link to the study? This study from 2006 estimated more than 4 million CCTV cameras in the UK. Their number is based on work in London, which makes me doubt the estimate a little bit, but take a look for yourself: see the section on CCTV in London, starting on page 8.

Googling the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' phrase, the overwhelmingly dominant response are links to this article. I can find no record of the British government saying it or anything like it.

On the second page of this NYT Magazine article by Jeffrey Rosen, Rosen claims that the "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear," phrase was a John Major campaign slogan. I have not been able to verify that claim. Nor am I quite sure what to make of the move from "A politician used this as a campaign slogan" to "The government says this." Seems sketchy to me, though.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:12 AM on December 9, 2012


When there are no secrets in the world, there will be no need for this privacy thing.

With tautology, you can prove anything even remotely true!
posted by DU at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has the "nothing to hide" argument ever once been made in good faith, though?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:33 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Has the "nothing to hide" argument ever once been made in good faith, though?

That's what I found hardest to swallow about this article. The whole thing is against a straw man. Notice how he doesn't provide any citations of anyone actually making this argument, just an unsourced blog post.
posted by zixyer at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2012


tautology

Yea as I typed it it seemed rather trollish and certainly intentionally idealistically naive. In a far future science fiction sense.

In the very recent past admitting to the knowledge of 'alternative' gender identification would be held closely private. Now, thank goodness, in a few states it's registered intentionally at city hall in the marriage register.

My simplistic point should have been more that less and less needs to be private. In far or perhaps not so far future, little of what we consider private may be just at the level of "oh sure" and just generally knowable if it's useful. I guess this assumes the also very naive thought that there will be less maliciousness in the world.
posted by sammyo at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2012


Has the "nothing to hide" argument ever once been made in good faith, though?

People have made this argument in earnest in face-to-face conversations with me.

No links, sorry.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:58 AM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have actually heard a few people use the argument, in good faith, during discussions about policy. Although we had been sucked into this naïve discourse about privacy v. security by other discussants that sought to oppose one nebulous but strongly-associated concept ("security") to another nebulous but tenuously-associated concept ("privacy"). It doesn't help that privacy and our putative right to it may be linked in certain minds to abortion and judicial advocacy.

The truth is, "privacy" is a stupid political term, at least now. To me, the right to be secure in my person, papers, effects, and home, as well as in my daily business, is at the heart of it.

But in another sense, many of the cases for which privacy is extended as a defense are about something more concrete: the state of affairs where people can be confident and assertive in saying "no" to any requested, but not mandatory, intrusion. The answer to any "Why not?" being simply "Because I will not allow it."
posted by adoarns at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


My simplistic point should have been more that less and less needs to be private. In far or perhaps not so far future, little of what we consider private may be just at the level of "oh sure" and just generally knowable if it's useful. I guess this assumes the also very naive thought that there will be less maliciousness in the world.

But the entire point of this post is that "maliciousness" is not the only reason to have things be private. What if you just...don't like to blurt everything out to every person you meet during your first conversation? Keep a little in reserve. Maintain a little mystery.
posted by DU at 9:07 AM on December 9, 2012


I'm sure he has a good argument in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it after a few minutes of reading and gave up.

Excerpting part of a book does not make for good web essays or convincing arguments.
posted by Argyle at 9:14 AM on December 9, 2012


There are different contexts of privacy.

I have given and will continue to give the "nothing to hide" defense. Why? Because the information the government collects on me, if any, isn't of any use to them for national security.

But the context of security cameras to record criminals in the act for later identification purposes and the NSA wire-tapping people for national security is a different context from me wanting to have my online persona separate from my personal information. Not necessarily because I don't want to be associated with my online persona, but because I don't want people bothering and invading my personal everyday life.

This latter point sort of flows into the talk about Facebook and Google collecting data on you, but I'm still suspect how much of a concern this is. The data they collect has to be of a type that can be inputted into an automated process which feeds stuff back to you. At no point is any human involved.

It doesn't help your argument though, as you can see here, that people are talking randomly about different sorts of privacy as if there were no distinction. You can be for all forms of privacy, but your argument for each will be different.
posted by SollosQ at 9:20 AM on December 9, 2012


I've had the "nothing to hide" argument on more than one occasion, so (much like the premise of this post) just because it doesn't happen to you doesn't mean it isn't real. He admits that "nothing to hide" is a straw man at face value, but the concept still has components and assumptions that are nonetheless troubling. I don't want to get all RTFA here, but seriously.

As for the people claiming that aggregated data is obviously different from the more intrusive surveillance practices, I'd like to share the anecdote of how targeted advertising alerted a father to his teenage daughter's pregnancy before she could.

But really, beyond all of this, I just don't see how any self-respecting person wouldn't value being able to keep information to themselves. It's not some temporary 20th century notion; it just hasn't been this big of an issue until now. I wish I could remember the MeFite who originally made this analogy, but it's like Cardinal de Richelieu said: "Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, and I will find something in them which will hang him."
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish I could remember the MeFite who originally made this analogy

Hello there! (Self-link from undisclosed location)
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2012


He admits that "nothing to hide" is a straw man at face value, but the concept still has components and assumptions that are nonetheless troubling. I don't want to get all RTFA here, but seriously.

Prompted by your comment I thought I had missed something in the article, so I read the entire thing again. You're going to have to point out to me the part of the article where he writes that it's a straw man, because I couldn't find it.
posted by zixyer at 10:16 AM on December 9, 2012


As for the people claiming that aggregated data is obviously different from the more intrusive surveillance practices, I'd like to share the anecdote of how targeted advertising alerted a father to his teenage daughter's pregnancy before she could.

Or as Cardinal Lester Freamon said, "All the pieces matter."
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


My wife has had trouble buying cold medicine in the United States possibly because when she was at conference in Vegas a dodgy cashier and dodgy customer in the line behind her ran their meth ingredient transaction through under her name.
posted by srboisvert at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


One problem with the "nothing to hide" argument is the idea that privacy equals hiding, and the assumption that we only "hide" those things which are shameful or would cast us in a bad light. It frames privacy in a negative way from the start, making it the postion that requires defending. This misrepresentation is much easier to attack. I think this probably qualifies as a straw man argument.
posted by orme at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's too bad that the old definition of "liberal", as well as concerns about freedom and liberty, have been so tangled up of late with Tea Parties, survivalists and gold bugs. Because the strongest argument (to me) is that people should be free to maintain their privacy from everyone.

Liberty and Privacy: Connections

This essay is also interesting on the differences between the US and the EU: Liberty vs Privacy: the US & EU’s Ideological Internet Collision
posted by chavenet at 10:37 AM on December 9, 2012


When there are no secrets in the world, there will be no need for this privacy thing.

It's no secret that I poop, but I'd like to be able to do that with the door shut, thanks. I'd like that angry letter I write and then delete to stay gone, if that's OK with you, and anything else I do in the comfort of my own home or on the inside of my own head can just stay my own business.

Privacy and dignity aren't unrelated concepts, and you can't throw away one without throwing away the other.
posted by mhoye at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I tend to be extremely private, partly because I grew up with family members who would give me the third degree about anything, no matter how minuscule. To this day, when I go home to visit, I bring my own ibuprofen just to avoid this:
Me: Do you guys have any ibuprofen?
Them: Why do you need ibuprofen????
Me: ...because I have a headache.
Them: Why do you have a headache???
Me: THIS! THIS IS WHY I HAVE A HEADACHE!
I don't want every molecule of my life to be subject to the whims of Big Brother, but before it even gets to that point, I don't want it to be subject to the whims of tiresome busybodies either!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 11:22 AM on December 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


Here's how you explain to a mundane that he has things to hide:

"I have a high opinion of the products of the Honda Motor Company. But when I walk into a dealer's lobby, I need to hide that."

In my experience that clicks with people.
posted by ocschwar at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


I have worked with security geeks for the last 20 years and have never once heard "nothing to hide" invoked as anything other than a strawman. And I've heard it invoked as a strawman over and over and over again. It's quite tiresome.

I'm sure that there are people out there invoking it in good faith. I'm also pretty sure that there's at least two orders of magnitude difference between good faith and strawman usages.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2012


zixyer: He doesn't use the term "straw man", per se, but the following is the part of the article where he discusses the extreme vs. not-so-extreme version of the argument:

"But such responses attack the nothing-to-hide argument only in its most extreme form, which isn't particularly strong. In a less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument refers not to all personal information but only to the type of data the government is likely to collect. [...] In this less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument is a formidable one. However, it stems from certain faulty assumptions about privacy and its value."

And sorry, MonkeyToes, but your post is in another castle. Apparently, that line gets quoted a lot around here.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Notice how he doesn't provide any citations of anyone actually making this argument

Yeah he does: the British government. That's a pretty significant example.
posted by John Cohen at 12:36 PM on December 9, 2012


Notice how they didn't. That too is pretty significant.
posted by fullerine at 12:53 PM on December 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I work in privacy in my day job, and my personal formulation is: "Privacy is about keeping control over our own information in the face of technological developments that lessen that control."
posted by Sebmojo at 1:27 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have worked with security geeks for the last 20 years and have never once heard "nothing to hide" invoked as anything other than a strawman.

Of course you haven't heard it, you're working with security geeks.

Talk to an authoritarian, and that's one of the first arguments you'll hear. I've gotten it many times.

It's also worth pointing out that you may think you have nothing to hide now, but laws and mores can change, and things that were perfectly legitimate may become less so, perhaps to an extreme degree. If I were a Greek citizen, for instance, I'd be pretty worried about my records looking too liberal, what with the potential rise of fascism there.

In that sort of circumstance, I'd be happiest with the fewest records possible. The less a potential government like that knows about me, the better.
posted by Malor at 1:37 PM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Has the "nothing to hide" argument ever once been made in good faith, though?

I work in the field of privacy law. Every security agency I have dealt with has made this argument.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:26 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


“I have a high opinion of the products of the Honda Motor Company. But when I walk into a dealer's lobby, I need to hide that.”

Coincidentally, this WSJ article on commercial web tracking practices uses car shopping as a (real) example. It's also a good example of how a large amount of individually meaningless items can be correlated into more meaningful information.
posted by hattifattener at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I don't see why privacy laws are that important. Surely you have nothing to hide?"

"I guess I don't. By the way, when you masturbate, do you like pinching your nipples or sticking a finger up your bum?"

"I... whuh, what the hell?"

"Surely you have nothing to hide, do you?"
posted by chimaera at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: "How about "the more of yourself you expose, the easier it is for someone to pretend to be you. Privacy isn't necessarily about 'having something to hide', it's also about making sure your identity remains under your control.""

This is an excellent point, and not something that I'd regularly consider. It illustrates the need for some information to always be held back, for purposes of identity verification if nothing else. Not so much a consideration when discussing government surveillance programs, but pretty important when discussing the possibility of identity theft.

And when someone uses your identity to commit a crime (like what happened to srboisvert's wife), and that crime is recorded in some ham-handed government database that never gets error checked, the two issues join together.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:52 PM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


One thing in the Wall Street Journal article I had not known: if the site you browse has a facebook like button on it, you do not even have to click the button for facebook to know that you browsed that page. Do facebook users (I ain't one) know this? That the company is peering over your shoulder every time you see a page with a like button on it?
posted by bukvich at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2012


if the site you browse has a facebook like button on it, you do not even have to click the button for facebook to know that you browsed that page.

That sort of thing explains some extremely weirdly micro-targeted advertising I've been getting lately. Too bad they don't know how ... ridiculously inappropriate or too late most of those ads are.
posted by localroger at 4:56 PM on December 9, 2012


You should reduce tracking by running tools like Ghostery, JavaScript Blocker, etc., but often they avoid removing functionality, ala Facebook widgets. You can remove Facebook widgets with AdBlock+ rules like :

||facebook.*$domain=~facebook.com|~127.0.0.1
||fbcdn.*$domain=~fbcdn.com|~facebook.com|~127.0.0.1
posted by jeffburdges at 5:07 PM on December 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've considered a name change to something generic. Seems like it would be worth it to hide the fetor of my beached whale online. But then I'd have to give the old name during reference checks anyway which sort of defeats the whole purpose.

Also as someone who has worked with a similar image search engine, I'm not sure generic names are future proof. (See Maltego for example.) I imagine something like the Jeopardy A.I. returning profiles on people you search for in the future. You'd have to think this exists already or is being worked on.
posted by saber_taylor at 6:05 PM on December 9, 2012


Also as someone who has worked with a similar image search engine, I'm not sure generic names are future proof.

Yeah, I got on this bandwagon early thanks to the card counting team. Image recognition is fucking horrible on edge cases and way too likely to be taken as gospel in all too many situations.
posted by localroger at 6:10 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect that people who vigorously support the "nothing to hide" attitude: 1. tend to be extroverts. 2. have never given much thought to all the things they hide, and take their ability to do so for granted.

If I thought about it more, I might conclude that invention, science, many of the arts, even society itself is impossible without the ability to hide a whole range of things. I imagine the further development of surveillance culture will make that manifest, even to twits like Zuckerberg. And then the great erasing will commence.
posted by Twang at 6:31 PM on December 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


localroger, I just mean that keyword search as we know it is not the final word.

Our search engine was more of a toy than anything else (compared voxels). But some other teams were working on the face recognition which I think will get pretty good considering that humans can do it, although it has a ways to go.

Consider this HN story yesterday, where someone got emailed after visiting a website:
Can websites personally identify visitors?.
posted by saber_taylor at 7:15 PM on December 9, 2012


I saw an interesting coincidence in today's Basic Instructions.

Has the "nothing to hide" argument ever once been made in good faith, though?
..this is the (as I see it) primary argument made by those who really, really like the idea of publicly accessible gun ownership registries. I'm sure the people who present the argument feel like they are operating in good faith. I have seen gun owners (on reddit, so ugh if you must) make the same argument in regards to dealers, sellers and buyers along the southern US border. I think maybe the "nothing to hide" position has to be viewed as a selective and opaque lens in at least some cases, if it can't be outright denied.
posted by timfinnie at 8:22 PM on December 9, 2012


Do you have a link to the study?

http://www.securitynewsdesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/CCTV-Image-42-How-many-cameras-are-there-in-the-UK.pdf


This study from 2006 estimated more than 4 million CCTV cameras in the UK.

From Wikipedia:

Many have strongly condemned the assumptions behind that estimate, noting that it involved the extrapolation of observation from one 1.5km long street in Putney, London to the entire population of the UK.

http://www.cctvusergroup.com/downloads/file/Exploding%20the%20Myths%20-%20Urban%20Eye.pdf
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:40 PM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's too bad that the old definition of "liberal", as well as concerns about freedom and liberty, have been so tangled up of late with Tea Parties, survivalists and gold bugs.
yeah it's weird how that just suddenly happened right when it would be useful for it not to

real fuckin' weird
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:21 AM on December 10, 2012


Forgot to add:
laws and mores can change, and things that were perfectly legitimate may become less so, perhaps to an extreme degree
In a more benighted time, you'd have something to worry about. Fortunately, as enlightened, upper-middle-class, educatedish people who calls ourselves "leftist", my friends and I will ensure that society evolves up the ladder instead of tumbling off it.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:34 AM on December 10, 2012


You should reduce tracking by running tools like Ghostery, JavaScript Blocker, etc., but often they avoid removing functionality, ala Facebook widgets.

If it bothers you, consider running disconnect. If it doesn't bother you, consider (or don't) reading about why it should.
posted by The Bellman at 7:18 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is always the presumption that any reasonably good, law-abiding, honest person will be in the category of having "nothing to hide." This is untrue. A person who has become a target of a stalker, or of a thief or bully, may have serious need to hide many things about themselves -- their address, workplace, comings and goings -- through absolutely no fault of their own. No matter how scrupulously you have conducted your life, no matter how open your attitudes about your personal affairs may be today, tomorrow you may suddenly find yourself transported to the camp of having things to fear and things to hide. Facebook and Google are dreams come true for stalkers.
posted by Corvid at 12:16 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


People with nothing to hide all use the toilet with the door open.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 12:37 PM on December 10, 2012


Awesome. Thanks for the link.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:23 PM on December 10, 2012


Public Buses Across Country Quietly Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who’s Watching? Privacy Concerns Persist as Smart Meters Roll Out
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eye See
Shake that together with the Uncanny Valley and a healthy distrust of facial recognition technology, and you get Eye See. Mannequins whose heads are filled not with air or foam stuffing, but embedded facial recognition technology. The demographic data collected includes gender, ethnicity, and approximate age, as well as the all-important measure of time spent looking at any one outfit. Its audio recording capabilities, meanwhile, allow it to analyse your speech for trends. It’s a classic case of military technology being repurposed by the world of commerce, in which biometrics are mobilised in the name of sales.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:33 AM on December 14, 2012


Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jobless in the UK to be remotely monitored by government
posted by jeffburdges at 8:16 AM on December 20, 2012


So the only reason your "job adviser" can't monitor every application and search you make with their website (hopefully just their website) and take that information into account when deciding if you need a compulsory work placement or a reduction in benefits, is because it's illegal to monitor people online without their consent under EU law. Nothing illegal about it under British law, apparently.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2012


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