The Daily Banter

Glenn Greenwald’s “Nothing to Hide” Challenge is Pretty Damn Stupid

During his TED Talk presentation last week, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald issued a challenge: If you defend the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities by insisting that you have nothing to hide, then you should send all of your usernames and passwords to Glenn Greenwald, allowing him to publish anything he finds particularly juicy. Here’s the actual quote:

“Over the last 16 months, as I’ve debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, ‘I don’t really worry about invasions of privacy because I don’t have anything to hide.’ I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, ‘Here’s my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you’re doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you’re not a bad person, if you’re doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.’ Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.”

Yeah, I wonder why.

First of all, this is a bit of a strawman fallacy. Very few reputable people use this “I have nothing to hide” line of reasoning in defense of NSA any more because it stupidly and simplistically concedes that NSA might actually be spying on them personally without a warrant — a concession that’s both inaccurate and nearsighted.

It also draws a ludicrously false comparison… CONTINUE READING

ht Kush Arora