Privacy is not negotiable: ‘They’ may be first, but you could be next

I struggle with the idea I keep seeing and hearing repeated that government intrusion into our privacy is acceptable because “I have nothing to hide”. Like this letter to the SMH today:

Data mining is another beat-up (”The long reach of the data sweep”, June 11). The US can check my phone and emails any time it wants. Good bedtime reading for an insomniac data geek. Only people with stuff to hide should be worried and the ones worried are exactly the people that need to be watched.

Who cares where I travel with my Opal card (”Privacy has taken a back seat amid the Opal debate”, June 11)? Again, I have nothing to hide and nothing to worry about. And if the records put a murderer at the scene of the crime? Surely that is what we all want from our law enforcers.

Joe Clayton Mosman

I keep thinking of the poem about the Nazi rise to power attributed to Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

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