When someone debating privacy says, “but I don’t have anything to hide,” I am immediately suspicious. “Would you prove it by giving me access to your email accounts,” I’ve taken to replying, “along with your credit card statements and bank records?” Not a single person has ever taken me up on that challenge–until now.
Arizona resident Noah Dyer emailed me about an anti-privacy project he is promoting. I replied in my usual way. And to my surprise, he sent all his passwords.
“I have given you the things you’ve asked for, and have done so unconditionally,” he wrote. “I’ve given you the power to impersonate me. I request that you do not take advantage of me in this way, though I have obviously not made that desire a precondition to sharing the info with you. Additionally, while you may paint whatever picture of me you are inclined to based on the data and our conversations, I would ask you to exercise restraint in embarrassing others whose lives have crossed my path … Again, I have not made your agreement to that request a condition of sharing the data. I don’t think I have enough money that you would bother to take it or spend it. Look forward to talking more and seeing the article!”
“Wow,” I thought. “How reckless to give this access to a complete stranger!” Then I logged in to his email.