Privacy And The Privacy Of Privacy

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In today’s society, the word “privacy” has become ubiquitous. When discussing whether government surveillance and data collection pose a threat to privacy, the most common retort against privacy advocates – by those in favor of databases, video surveillance, spyware, data mining and other modern surveillance measures – is this line: "If I’m not doing anything wrong, what would I have to hide?" The allowance of the government’s gathering and analysis of our personal information stems from an inadequate definition of what privacy is and the eternal value that privacy possesses. The adherents of the “nothing-to-hide” argument say that because the information will never be disclosed to the public, the “privacy interest is minimal, and the security interest in preventing terrorism is much more important.” 1 In an era where the patterns we leave behind will inevitably become the focus for whatever authority, the issue of privacy affects more than just individuals hiding a wrong. In this essay, I will explore the state of online privacy in wake of the government’s warrantless data collection. Respectively, the nothing-to-hide argument and its key variants in more depth. At the surface, discussions about government data surveillance focuses primarily on the information collection, use, storage and processing associated with these programs. In Britain, for example, the government has installed millions of public-surveillance cameras in cities and towns, which are watched by
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