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" All registers which, it is acknowledged, ought to be kept secret, ought certainly never to exist."

   --  Adam Smith
"1984 is not an instruction manual"
We should be monitoring the Government, not them monitoring us.

What is privacy?


The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people

Wider definition

  • Do you have any rights to privacy in a public place?

Nothing to hide

People ave fallen for the age old trap when they say "People shouldn't fear CCTV if they have nothing to hide". The same reasoning could be extended to allow the police to come into your home whenever they fancied to search your belongings and scrutinise what's on your computer to randomly stop you in the street and demand where you are going, to check all our emails and correspondence, the list goes on. People should be allowed to go about their daily lives without interference should be the norm.

Maybe you have nothing to hide, but think about it a little bit further, maybe someone else has something to hide, and a lack of privacy will affect you.
Any-time anyone does something that they don't want to become public (doesn't have to be something illegal - just embarrassing - e.g. talking about past behaviour or a medical issue), the potential for coercion has just been opened up. 
  • Do you really want everyone who has done anything embarrassing to be compromised like that?
  • Is that the mark of a free society? 
  • What if the people who are compromised are judges, politicians, etc?
If you have noting to hide, then the government has nothing to see and should not be looking.

If you think you have done nothing wrong, that would depend on who is deciding what is right and wrong.

ID cards

"Halt. Papers please".

Fingerprinting is permanent

The reason this is different from other forms of ID is that it contains your bio-information (fingerprint) Giving this to the government will give them the new ability know anywhere you've been - and you can't take that ability away from them.

You may say that you have nothing to hide, and trust this government not to misuse that power, but are you going to say that you will trust all future governments, without having had a look at them? Also are you going to trust every minor civil servant who has access to this, not to let it fall into the hands of just anybody who is willing to bribe them?

You have a right to privacy.

ID cards

  • Driving licences
  • passports
  • Wok passes
  • Birth certificates
ID cards are a complete waste of money and effort by a government that I'm convinced has more sinister reasons for wanting them.
There is only one reason to introduce ID cards and that is to require people to carry them. Once that happens it follows that the police can then stop anyone they like with no reasonable suspicion other than that the card is not being carried. 
Quite apart from the distasteful return by the back door of the suss laws this fundamentally changes the relationship between the public and the police and, by extension, the state.

Spain has ID cards, does that mean they have no crime or terrorists. The same must be true of France too.
 Imagine in twenty years time going to the supermarket checkout and being prevented from buying pizza because your medical records indicate your cholesterol is too high or you having the bottle of wine removed from your bag because you've had your 21 units for this week. Just because we are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get us.

Who owns the data?

Whether or not someone has something to hide doesn't enter the equation. Privacy is an individual's sacred territory that no other individual or group has the right to violate for any reason whatsoever. The exception is when a crime has been committed, probable cause has been presented, and a specific warrant has been obtained would it be permissible to invade one's privacy to conduct an investigation.

Next time somebody says they don't mind the violation of privacy, because they have nothing to hide, go ahead and take a look through their purse or wallet and demonstrate the contradiction in their logic when they flip out.


What about those who say they trust their government with their private information. 
That may be the case now, but what about when the leadership changes, and what about 10 years from now?

Privacy is linked to the presumption of innocence

Quote 945

"If we wanted simply to track down criminals and protect society in the most efficient way, we would watch everyone all the time, listen in on their every conversation, constantly record all their movements, and know everything about them it was possible to know. Criminal activity would be difficult, given this approach, but no doubt clever criminals would find news ways of concealing their activities. We treat people as innocent until proven guilty. We do not start with the assumption that all people are criminals, if only we had enough information on which to convict them."

   --  Masden Pirie