On Privacy

It may come as a shock to some of you that I am a rather private being, and it may be even more shocking to you that I quite like my privacy.

I suppose one or two of you will flat-out deny that I want privacy - I mean, come on, I have a blog. According to that line of illogic, I must therefore be an attention-seeker who neither wants nor deserves any measure of peace and quiet. Others will say that the only people who want privacy are those with something to hide and that by having something to hide (i.e. not being totally virtuous), I forfeit my right to have something to hide.

Let me just say that this isn't some great, profound, moving diatribe against the governments of the world for snooping on us. Other people have done that before me, and they've done the subject more justice than I could ever hope for in my writing. This is quieter, I suppose, and more personal.

I believe that everyone deserves privacy in their personal lives, or to put it more accurately, if they're not hurting anyone, you don't get to snoop on them. It's only fair, since pretty much everyone wants a little bit of time to themselves and since having that time to themselves won't hurt anyone. They certainly don't forfeit their right to privacy merely by wanting privacy; they forfeit it if that privacy is used to hurt others.

There's another dimension to this, the dimension I really wanted to address. Why do people want privacy anyway? Why do they need it? I'm not a fan of "security" excuses (they seem to pretty much always be used to justify trampling over civil liberties and I don't want to associate myself with that - not to mention you can see the holes in the argument about a light year away), so I won't use them. The simple fact is, people don't always want to be tracked, watched, listened in on; sometimes they just want to be left alone. Pretty much everything people enjoy doing is ruined when there's someone else watching them without their permission, feasting their greedy eyes and listening out with their selfish ears - and for what? Do they have a right to invade the privacy of those who are doing nothing wrong? No, they don't, since no harm is being done. That's not called "having something to hide", that's called "disliking other people watching you".

There is nothing wrong or selfish about privacy. There is something wrong and deeply selfish in those who think they have a right to snoop.