The Guardian view on privacy online: a human right

Encryption on the internet will be abused, but better that than a society where no one is allowed secrets from the government

If people are given the right to complete privacy, some will abuse it. It is not just terrorists and paedophiles who will use encrypted communications to work obvious evil. Anonymity releases all kinds of small-minded malice and cruelty even in normal people. This has been claimed by philosophers for centuries – Adam Smith wrote that it is the fear of becoming “the proper object of the contempt and indignation of mankind” that enforces our moral codes. Take that away, he argued, and there is little to prevent us acting for reasons of pure self-gratification. Thirty years’ experience of social networks on the internet has proved that the Scottish philosopher was right. The Twitter mob, the skulking trolls and other hate figures of our time are evidence enough of that. So there is a moral case for removing some degree of privacy on the internet. It will not do simply to assume that freedom for users is an unmixed good. ..Read More..

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