Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Nothing to Hide – a documentary about surveillance and you [video] (vimeo.com)
276 points by Moru on Oct 29, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

On the topic of having nothing to hide, the following description of how 'privacy' differs from 'secrecy' really opened my eyes to the importance of the whole privacy issue and why not having anything to hide isn't an excuse to give up your right to privacy: What you do in the bathroom is not a secret, but you still want to close the door—you still want your privacy.

Everyone knows what happens in the bathroom, but everyone also understands that you have a right to your privacy in there and they don't expect you to leave the door open (unless, of course, that's your thing).

Anyone who says "I don't have anything to hide" I think is making a mistake of thinking that they're the ones who get to decide that. Just look at what happened when John Podestas emails got leaked. The fact that he had talked about food, one of the most innocuous things you could possibly imagine, inspired an unimaginable amount of belligerent morons to construct Rube Goldberg conspiracy theories about child abduction, rape, and murder.

Anyone who says 'I have nothing to hide' really needs to consider things like that, and things like the fact that societal attitudes change. What was perfectly acceptable and normal conversation 25 years ago could absolutely burn you to the ground and ruin your life today if a reliable record of it could be found. When one of Trumps sons somehow gets elected and starts hunting down everyone who spoke ill of his daddy, I don't think "oh but it was accepted at the time" is going to cut it.

That argument still only works when you're preaching to the choir. People can be absolutely against other people looking at them when they're in the bathroom, but at the same time be absolutely fine with The Government being able to retroactively spy on a specific bathroom when they suspect someone did drugs there, i.e. have all bathrooms recorded and the recordings only opened with a court order. Or watched by an algorithm and flagged for review by a person.

But someone might not be doing what everyone thinks they're doing in there.

The same could be said for what you do in your own home with all the curtains pulled.

Yup, my grandma doesn't have curtains because she's doing something illegal... she has them because she doesn't want creeps watching her.

But we don't have glass doors in bathrooms because of that

Tons of mens restrooms don't have doors or walls around shitters specifically so no one fucks or does drugs in them.

Where do you live? I've never seen men's rooms that didn't have walls and doors for each stall. I hope you aren't in prison.

Ugh the ones with doors that are like 6 inches off the ground are terrible too.

Its discrimination against men with elephant like appendages.. what a outrage, right?

Right. Also, my wife and I have a little game of sharing about public restrooms that we encounter. Generally, the men's rooms are far more trashed than the women's rooms. But how many establishments have surveillance cameras in their men's rooms? Not many, I suspect.

Doesn't anyone want to spy on my junk?!

Mostly, I'd think that they'd want to nail the guys who break toilets and urinals. I mean, how to they do that? Those things are solid porcelain, no? Hammers? But maybe they're more fragile than they used to be.

"Follow NOTHING TO HIDE on facebook" ...sigh


:) I find it really hard to follow news from movies because often they use things like Squarespace and Wix, and these motherf^W^W^W^W^W^Wsaints never have any feeds. You have a mailing list to follow if you're lucky, and usually the only other medium is the Facebook page.

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy the book "No Place to Hide" by Robert O'Harrow (2004!), which explores the surveillance state at the intersection of private coronations. Many of the ideas and topics discussed in the book, at the time sounding more like conspiracy theories, have come true.


It's total class war of the rich vs the rest, sorry to tell ya. Hear it from Zbigniew brezinksi, former national security advisor of the united states.


I am pretty sure that good ole Zbig is more of a part of the problem than the solution ;)

Another relevant read is "No Place to Hide" (!) by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist working on the Snowden file disclosures:


A non-amzazon link to the poster's excellent recommendation


[edit: punctuation]

We all have stuff to hide, but shouldn't we agree that we shouldn't?

The powerful ought to be have no privacy, because with power there's the need for public oversight. Ditto for corporations, government, and so on. And conversely, the weak ought to have total privacy, because they're so vulnerable.

In reality, we have pretty much the opposite. Because wealth and power protect themselves. So it goes.

Perhaps the powerful should have less professional privacy. But personal privacy is not far from dignity for many. So let's not make their personal lives any more of an industry than it already is.

Still, the idea that the weak should have more privacy sounds about right.

I get what you say about personal privacy. But with extreme power, there's not much that's legitimately private. Consider what people must reveal to get the highest security ratings, for example.

On the other hand, with enough power privacy is replaced by immunity. The importance of privacy is heavily distorted by one's level of vulnerability to state or social coercion.

As an example - it's not clear whether J. Edgar Hoover was gay, but it's quite clear that he threatened and even blackmailed people who raised the question too publicly. Meanwhile, employees lower in the national security apparat were surveilled and dismissed based on even rumors of homosexuality. Privacy remains desirable, but becomes less essential with that sort of rising power.

I disagree with "with enough power privacy is replaced by immunity". With few exceptions, the truly powerful now have both privacy and immunity. Both, because of their power. But I'm not talking about current systems.

I believe that the powerful ought to have neither privacy nor immunity. That ought to be the trade-off for having substantive power. There's the old adage about power coming with responsibility. So I'm rather expanding on the basis for responsibility.

The things worth hiding might not be the same things in 20 years. It's not illegal to be a Jew right now but look back a few years and see what could happen when there are registers of peoples beliefs.

But people only seek to hide what's worth hiding today, which defeats the purpose.

Except for the people who talk about taking away the ability to spy completely - they're not just trying to hide what's worth hiding today.

In the 1960s if you advocated for racial equality and interracial marriage, you were a social radical, a destabilizer, an insurgent in the popular culture. You were an offensive deviant, actively promoting the destruction of the race, opposed to the church, to the law, to the government, everything. Would social acceptance of racial equality even have been possible to develop without the government and status quo NOT being able to know their undoing was festering right under their noses?

We should never be so sure we're right that we destroy the mere possibility of change.

If the universe had somehow formed to create humans who shared a single consciousness, sure that would work.

But as long as we are individuals, we need the space to have a self.

Individuality is an illusion. We're all one. I plan to make it known.

If we were, it already would be, obviously.

Setec Astronomy.

That might work if no one was allowed to punish anyone for doing something simply because they consider it wrong. I don't want you, or anyone else, making that decision for me. Privacy is more about protection from people with power than it is for protection from direct harm.

Well, don't, if you wish so. I personally don't mind people walking naked on the street, jumping from the roofs, putting their fingers into meat grinder. But don't ask me to do any of these things.

It's impossible not to have things to hide, as a normal human being. We don't live in glass homes, and are responsible for keeping a lot of information hidden (SSN, passwords, credit card number, credit reports, etc).

That's why we should get rid of SSNs, credit card numbers, passwords, etc.

You're missing the point. Receipts, work-related files, birth certificates, passports.

There will always be information we have to safeguard. It's not feasible to switch all authentication from what-you-know (passwords) and what-you-have (certificates) to what-you-are (biometrics), which is the only way I can see us getting rid of SSNs, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Why is it not feasible?

Because all easily measurable biometrics are also easy to reproduce, you leak "true values" all the time as you move around the world, and once leaked, they're nigh impossible for you to change. This makes biometrics a very bad proxy for identifying you as you. And auth is all about ways to provably identify you and only you as you.

In many cases, it has nothing to do with what is being hidden. It is much easier to find peace in the world if you keep your nose out of other people's affairs and vice versa.

In principle, yes, but that's all that is, principle.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact