"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."

The quote in the title is from Cardinal Richelieu, and according to security expert Bruce Schneier, the Cardinal truly understood the value (and dangers) of surveillance.

Here is an excerpt from a Wired News article by Bruce Schneier about the value of privacy:
(by the way, his blog Schneier on Security is great, check it out)

"Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect. ... 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.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely... Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance."

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide."

That's one of the best arguments against surveillance that I've read in a long time. It's simple, but true.

Thanks to Erin R. for posting about this on her blog, The (Mis)Adventures of a Gringa (soon to be) in Costa Rica!

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  1. Excellent article and so very true. Indeed, it is one of the best arguments against surveillance. Thanks for posting it.