Privacy? I Don’t Give a Damn!

Why are projects like Prism a problem? I’ve been asking myself this question over and over for the last few weeks. I had trouble finding out why the collection of all our communication would be problematic. The argument “I have nothing to hide” seemed fair. Until tonight, when I started to realize that this is not just a US project but a project run by the majority of western countries (US, Australia, The Netherlands, France and the UK). I figured I should write my thoughts down for those of you who are asking yourself the same question.

Mass surveillance is a problem. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it is very likely going to be a problem sometime. Why? Major reforms, revolutions and important milestones in history almost always came from great leaders that started with rejecting the current system (breaking the law). Nelson Mandela fighting the white superiority in Africa, women right to vote, legalising gay marriage and overthrowing a corrupt and unfair government in Egypt. When all communication is collected, saved and analysed how can we possibly take action against our leaders when necessary? Maybe this democratic power is not a necessity today, but what about the generations after us? Are we sure our government will always be reliable and trustworthy? The history books show they won’t be. So why are we having this trust now?

For those making the “These projects are not illegal, all of these projects are running within the boundaries of our current legal system” argument. Just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it is right, or ethical (if I’m allowed to use that word). I believe the law is used to describe what is right or wrong. Gray areas can always be found, these gray areas should be explored, not exploited.

Before I wrap up, just to be clear. I am in no circumstances anti-government and/or agains the takedown of terrorist groups. I have no doubt intelligence agencies do a tremendous job in protecting us from major threats on a daily basis. But I do believe that in this case multiple governments have crossed a line, a line that should not have been crossed. Important questions have not been asked or have been ignored. Question that should have been asked and questions that should not have been ignored. The first question should away’s be: “Is this decision/project/law now and in the future always in the best interest of our population”. I don’t think we can answer this question with a ‘Yes’ when talking about this mass surveillance project.