Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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The right to privacy has long been a cornerstone of modern free society in the Western world.
Without the right to privacy, the reigning power, be it a king, queen, democratically elected government or whoever, has the ability to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants because any dissent will soon be spotted and eliminated.
In short: without privacy we have no guarantee of freedom.
However, in recent times the "powers that be" have made concerted efforts to assure us that we don't need privacy in order to enjoy a free society. They tell us time and time again that "only those with something to hide have anything to fear" when their privacy is taken from them.
Yet strangely enough, those who tell us this still have curtains on their windows and doors on their bathrooms.
In the wake of the latest round of terror attacks across the world, the pressure to remove our right to privacy is being ramped up even more -- in the name of safety and security.
I'm sorry but I don't buy it.
Sure, terrorists may be using the right to privacy to plan and execute attacks that take innocent lives -- but that is one of the prices we must pay if we are to truly have a free society.
The situation is no worse than acknowledging the huge number of people who die on the word's roads every year as a result of crashes.
Despite this carnage -- which is many orders of magnitude greater than the deaths attributed to terror attacks, no person in their right mind would consider suggesting that we remove cars from our roads due to the danger they pose to the public -- hell no!
Yet there is ongoing pressure to remove our right to privacy -- because a much, much smaller number of people die as a result of its abuse.
Governments around the world are increasingly locking up people who refuse to hand over decryption or access keys to personal data they may have stored on their electronic devices and you can't even enter the USA without your phone, laptop and other devices being subject to such searches.
Not good enough.
And this whole "only those with something to hide have anything to fear thing" seems to be conveniently forgotten by the USA when its nasty little secrets are revealed by the likes of Snowden or Wikileaks. When the "state" is allowed secrets but the people are not, then you have a very dangerous situation -- not unlike Eastern Europe in the wake of WW2.
My own personal fear is that governments will continue to play on the public's concern over safety and people will sit idly by whilst the very thing that makes a free society possible is stripped from them.
Remember the words of Emiliano Zapata (YouTube).
Do readers think that we should temporarily suspend the public's right to privacy in order to better fight "The war against terror" -- or would doing so simply be the ultimate capitulation to the terrorists who consider those very freedoms as the enemy?
Freedom is a right that we must all work to keep or we will lose it to those who value their own interests ahead of those of society.
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