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TEDTalk review: "Why Privacy Matters" by Glenn Greenwald

TED published an excellent talk: Why Privacy Matters, by Glenn Greenwald.

Seldom do I call an online lecture “a must for all audience“, but the TED lecture by Glenn Greenwald is worth such an enforcement. Glenn Greenwald is one of the key reporters who published material based on the leaks of Edward Snowden. He also wrote a good book about it called “No Place to Hide”; a book on which I wrote a review about 6 months ago.

If you know that privacy is important, but cannot explain why people who’ve done nothing wrong need it, or worse yet, if you really do not see why a surveillance state is bad also for law-abiding citizens, then you must listen to this. It packs hours of social, psychological, and public policy discussions into a few minutes.

The lecture starts with anecdotal evidence about those who say that privacy is not as critical (namely executives from Google and Facebook) but who go extra miles to protect their own; funny.

The discussion follows with key arguments that make complete sense. It argues, inter alia, that the behavior of individuals when knowing that they may be watched is biased towards compliance and conformance. Therefore, with enough probabilistic surveillance a regime does not even need additional policing, as people will be “programmed” to comply.

Also, even if you do not see yourself as the next rebel against your government, such rebels, or the mere ability of them to exist, are what controls the power of your government; and by “rebel” I am not referring to armed forces, but even to journalists. While you are probably not a journalist yourself, you benefit from their daily unconstrained thought and behavior to control the government that you are subject to. It is thus also your responsibility to help protect the ecosystem in which such fiorces can operate.

The case for privacy goes beyond political issues, but I will let you go and listen…

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