Haseeb Awan 

Privacy == Liberty

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I recently had an honor to meet Mike Janke ( Co-founder & Chairman Silent Circle – Encrypted Communication Firm), which prompted me to write over this issue.

Mike Janke - Silent Circle

From Wikileaks to recent open letter by Apple in response to request for a backdoor in iOS , there are arguments on both sides on privacy and surveillance acceptability. While there is no denial that better information leads to better decision making which will be helpful for the agencies to protect us, however it might violate the citizen rights which includes privacy. There is a reason why we have private house rather than sharing a big house. While I live in an apartment and like people around me, most of the people have economic reasons to live in shared housing.

People in favor of allowing security agencies to access personal data are making a very strong argument that if there is nothing wrong, why do I need to hide? As popular as it looks like, this is not as simple as it looks like.

Many people have camera or stage phobia. As perfect they are in their job, when asked to perform the same job in front of people, they get nervous or are unable to reproduce the same results as they would individually. This is not because they are bad at what they do, it’s because of the external pressure that they have to be extra cautious. Now take the same example and apply it on your daily life.

Imagine a person watching everything that you do; Every word you spoke and every action you did is recorded in an archive which is saved for decades and is accessible by a person unknown to you. How would you feel about it?

Not taking it to an extreme where you are also observed while you are singing in your bath tub, but imagine being watched in your living room. While there is nothing wrong about watching a hockey game with your friends at your home, but would you be able to enjoy it with a camera over you? Taking example of house might turn off a lot of people, even recording the conversations at a dinner-date is totally awkward as well. Next time when you are having a conversation over a phone, imagine an unknown 3rd party listening to it or even worse recording it.

Here is Obama portions from SXSW’16 on encryption

Cell phones, laptops are very personal now and we spend most time with them than any other living or non-living object. It’s no longer the phone that the entire house shared to communicate, but it’s like a private diary.They possibly have the most amount of data or attachment than anything else and allowing it to be watched all the time makes me uncomfortable. Law enforcement is a difficult job and I am thankful to all the wonderful people who are working day and night to ensure our safety but liberty is what allows us to enjoy it the fullest. There should be no absolute stance from either parties & I hope there would be a good balance between liberty and security as we transform into a more progressive society.

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