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If a person isn't doing anything wrong, should he care to protect his privacy?

Defenders of intrusive government programs (and other forms of meddling) often assume that only guilty people would object to granting others access to their private information. What, after all, does an honest and decent person have to hide? Or these people assume that everyone is guilty, and that's what justifies monitoring everyone. What's wrong with these arguments? Should an honest and innocent person object to government inquiries into his private life?

Trey Peden , 08.01.2013, 08:35
Idea status: completed


DianaHsieh, 08.01.2013, 20:47
I edited this question quite a bit, so that it's not dependent on the reference to the web comic. Here's the original version:

What's wrong with the argument "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide?"

The web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, humorously illustrated the hypocrisy of governments who use police powers to monitors citizens without warrant or reason but object to citizens doing the same to them:

In this strip, the flying drone argues, "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide." And the man in the strip counters saying, in essence, "Everyone is guilty."

We hear similar arguments all the time -- typically from the news abroad since the American Constitution has some protections against this -- but what's wrong with it? Obviously, I don't think I am doing anything wrong, so I'm not about to agree with the assertion that everyone is guilty. But I am also not comfortable with the government watching me.

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