Internet privacy has been all over the news lately, with the NSA in the spotlight for overstepping its bounds in surveillance. For decades, they’ve been infecting computers with monitoring software to track citizens and compile data on their every click. And it’s not just criminals and terrorists that are being monitored: 90% of the people the NSA watches aren’t suspected of any crime.
Citizens of the US and other countries being censored and monitored feel that we’re sacrificing our personal privacy, internet openness, and freedom of expression, in the name of dubious increased security. Research shows that this overzealous surveillance costs us not only in personal privacy, but in economic costs, and is eroding people’s trust in their own government. Internet trust, recent surveys show, is at an all-time low.
It’s a common defense that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to worry about. But the “nothing to hide” fallacy hurts us all as a society. With thousands of laws on the books, any one of us could be accused of some obscure wrongdoing. And when the government can prosecute anyone and everyone, they can pick and choose who they put away, according to their whims or the highest bidder.