Maxistentialist comments on ‘Cards Against Humanity’ Creator Just Pledged To Buy and Publish Congress’s Browser History
Hey guys, Max here from Cards Against Humanity! We are incredibly excited to see Reddit rally behind a fair and open internet. We couldn’t have…
@MaxTemkin: 👉 Here’s an update on buying Congress’ browsing data:
The amount of attention this is getting is honestly starting to scare me. I know that voting this up is funny, and easy, and feels good. But even if we get this data, it’s a symbolic victory at best. Our basic human rights, like the right to privacy, are being sold to the highest bidder while the best minds of our generation are here on Reddit asking pro gamers if they want to fight a horse-sized duck or whatever. Real, material change requires sacrifice. You probably can’t do it on a computer. If you’re frustrated with the way things are going, the incompetence and corruption of government, and the money in politics, we need to support institutions like the EFF and we need to be heard by elected officials. I really like the tool 5Calls.org. If 100 Redditors called a congressman, it would freak them out and their staff would have to do something about it. It really doesn’t take much.
Those in favor of these programs have trotted out the same rhetorical question we hear every time privacy advocates oppose ID checks, video cameras, massive databases, data mining, and other wholesale surveillance measures: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”
Some clever answers: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.” “Because the government gets to define what’s wrong, and they keep changing the definition.” “Because you might do something wrong with my information.” My problem with quips like these — as right as they are — is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It’s not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.
Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.
Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.