metaprogramming and politics

Decentralize. Take the red pill.

Why privacy matters and State Secrecy not

Today i saw a woman’s german article on how she wouldn’t want reports about her sex life spread through wikileaks. I wouldn’t like that either. But i see it as a misconception and confusion about two very different issues, namely personal privacy and state/government secrecy. This confusion is used and increased by many politicians for their own purposes.

Privacy means our rights to have a private life, private flat, private actions and private communications. We don’t want the state or the public to surveil us or intrude our private world unless they can show evidence to an independent court that there is something criminal going on.

State secrecy denotes making secret deals, performing secret communication with and secret actions against people or other states. Secret actions can naturally not be discussed in the public and are exempt from our judgement when electing officials. Increasing state secrecy very quickly leads to inner circles wielding great power. The 20th century has tons of bad examples.

Therefore I refuse the notion that if am positive about privacy i must also be ok with state secrecy. Or if i want a transparent government that i also must be ok with total surveillance of my private life. No way. Likely it’s rather true that the more transparent a government is the more secure i can feel with respect to my privacy.

On a sidenote, this all relates to a point in the hacker ethics made by Wau Holland and the Chaos Computer Club a long time ago: “Make public data available, protect private data.”

Written by holger krekel

December 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Posted in politics

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5 Responses

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  1. Transparency is relation to your private life is one thing and yes the government should be transparent or as much as possible be transparent in that area. Transparency between governments will never happen. The world doesn’t work that way and cannot work that way for obvious reasons.


    December 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm

  2. Referring to the other comment… “The world doesn’t work that way” is a popular excuse of those unable to imagine it working in other ways. Much like “There is no alternative” is a popular way to make others shut up when running out of arguments. Killer phrases aren’t very useful when trying to communicate.


    December 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm

  3. I’m afraid the “obvious reasons” why inter-governmental transparency is impossible don’t seem that obvious, Robert. It seems to me that saying something is obvious is an excellent way to deflect argument when one would have trouble making his case based on, say, facts or logic.

    To my way of thinking, if two people can work together transparently, then so can two groups of people, and scaling upwards one should be able to imagine conditions under which two countries (and their governments) should be able to do the same. It might be difficult, but not “obviously” impossible.

    Peter Hansen

    December 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm

  4. It is definitely not the same but still it gives the politicians a taste of their own medicine. Maybe after this whole catastrophe they will see consumer privacy with different eyes.


    December 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  5. […] On a sidenote, this all relates to a point in the hacker ethics made by Wau Holland and the Chaos Computer Club a long time ago: “Make public data available, protect private data.”    Python Read the original post on Planet Python… […]

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