The Epic Privacy Browser founder Alok Bhardwaj gave a talk at a recent TEDx conference, “Nothing to Hide”, on why mass surveillance is incompatible with freedom.
In response to the revelations of mass surveillance by the government and the private sector, most people have repeated the shibboleth, I have nothing to hide, I’m not worried. When given the response, Okay, then give me your Facebook password, most people change their mind quickly and recognise that there are things that are private. Privacy is not having something to hide, it’s the enabler of freedom. Without privacy, a space in which to think or dream anything no matter how insane or subversive. So without privacy, freedom is impossible.
When you’re under general surveillance, you would at first consciously self-censor yourself, okay someone’s watching me I better not write this or read that or talk to that person. But that second-guessing and self-censorship would soon become internalized into a kind of prison in our mind. As the philosopher Michel Foucault argued, the effect of a system of surveillance is to have those under surveillance internalise the thoughts and ideas of those in power.
The internet is the most free media in the world where we can search for any information, share knowledge and associate with anyone regardless of religion or nationality — mass surveillance threatens this freedom. Listen to the talk & tell us what you think!!