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A couple has dinner while a giant eyeball stares at them from outside. One of the couple tells the other, 'Relax - it can only see metadata.'


Privacy isn’t really the main story here. Neither is security. These are real issues, of course, but not the core of this issue. Democratic governments are supposed to have oversight and other controls to limit the ways power can be wielded. Google might know everything about me, but they can’t put me in jail for crimes against the state. Amazon can’t declare that my interest in a pressure cooker is suspicious, and put me on a watch list. Home Depot won’t restrict my ability to travel because I bought nails. My government, however can declare it legal to do these things, declare it criminal to reveal their actions, and toss me in a cell to rot. I’m not saying the government will jail me for fixing my deck before a cookout – but the lack of oversight associated with these activities is frightening. I don’t need that oversight personally, but I do need that oversight to exist, and to be trustworthy.

It’s not that I have nothing to hide. It’s that I have nothing to hide from people I trust. I’m willing to extend that to organisations – but part of the reason I trust Google and Facebook, sand Home Depot is that they are overseen y the government, which limits the opportunities for abuse.

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