‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

SSRN‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy
Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School

San Diego Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 745, 2007
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 289

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: privacy, nothing to hide, data mining, surveillance

JEL Classification: C80, D80
Accepted Paper Series

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