The Right to Privacy in the Age of Mass Surveillance

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. — Edward Snowden

The Right to Privacy is…

  • The right to privacy is the right not to get caught up in a dragnet because you have the wrong last name.
  • It’s the right not to get in trouble over a misunderstanding.
  • It’s the right not to have to justify everything you’ve ever said.
  • It’s the right not to have to justify who you talk to or why.
  • It’s the right to say things you regret without leaving a paper trail.
  • It’s the right not to have to apologize for every stupid thing you’ve ever said.
  • It’s the right to tell a dirty joke. Or an inside joke.
  • It’s the right to say things that might be misunderstood.
  • It’s the right not to have your words be taken out of context and used against you.
  • It’s the right to say things on the weekend that would get you fired if you said them at work.
  • It’s the right to be politically incorrect.
  • It’s the right to get angry and shoot your mouth off.
  • It’s the right to flirt or brag or tell a white lie.
  • It’s the right to talk dirty with your lover.
  • It’s the right not to worry if your words will come back to haunt you.
  • It’s the right to gossip, to complain, and to vent.
  • It’s the right to think out loud and get some things wrong along the way.
  • It’s the right to misspeak or make a mistake.
  • It’s the right to say different things to different people.
  • It’s the right to be immature sometimes.
  • It’s the right to outgrow your past opinions.
  • The right to privacy is the right to not have your life ruined because that thing you said that one time.
  • It’s the right to go off the record.
  • It’s the right to go on the DL.
  • It’s the right to ask for advice about your problem.
  • It’s the right to talk to a friend without your stalker or your abuser knowing.
  • It’s the right to talk to a therapist, or a lawyer, or a priest, or a suicide hotline, or an abortion clinic without worrying about who’s listening.
  • It’s the right to have a meltdown or a breakdown or a crisis of faith without everyone knowing.
  • It’s the right to get help.
  • It’s the right not to have your business in the streets.
  • It’s the right to talk to people in other countries.
  • It’s the right not to watch every word you say.
  • It’s the right to disagree with the government.
  • It’s the right to be an activist, or a journalist, or a politician or a whistleblower.
  • It’s the right to have unpopular opinions.
  • It’s the right to talk to people you disagree with.
  • It’s the right to be gay, or an anarchist, or a Republican or a Democrat.
  • It’s the right to be Christian in a Muslim country or Muslim in a Christian country.
  • It’s the right to talk about sensitive matters without meeting in a parking garage.
  • The right to privacy is the right to think freely and speak freely.