'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

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San Diego Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 745, 2007

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Daniel J. Solove
privacy; nothing to hide; data mining; surveillance
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paper description
In this short essay, written for a symposium in the San Diego Law Review, Professor Daniel Solove examines the nothing to hide argument. When asked about government surveillance and data mining, many people respond by declaring: "I've got nothing to hide." According to the nothing to hide argument, there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity, in which case a person has no legitimate justification to claim that it remain private. The nothing to hide argument and its variants are quite prevalent, and thus are worth addressing. In this essay, Solove critiques the nothing to hide argument and exposes its faulty underpinnings.