Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

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Author: TEDtalksDirector | Duration: 20:42 | Rating: 4.89

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  • Nurul Natasha

    I think its true that if there is nothing to hide, then you do not need privacy. I agree that privacy is an issue that affects anyone and everyone in many different ways. Glenn Greenwald mentioned that everyone will have something to hide. By definition he said, only bad people would want privacy but is that entirely true? If it is then why do we have passwords on our phones and emails? Why do we have private accounts that we only allow certain people to see? I think that mentality is wrong as we keep things a secret because that something could mean everything to us. It could be something that the world need not know about. If privacy did not exist then I bet no one would even share half of their life online. People would then resort to talking or writing down their thoughts. But then again, its funny how we know that the whole world can see what we are doing on  the internet, including any government bodies yet we still openly share things. This is why to me, privacy depends on the person itself and it does not define whether one is bad or good. 

    199 words, Nurul Natasha CMM/TB03

  • Esther Leong

    I agree with Glenn Greenwald that it is ironic that people claim that privacy does not matter to them as they have done nothing wrong but yet they put locks on their bedroom doors and have passwords for all their accounts. It is of utmost importance that we all have a place that we can be free of the judgemental eyes of other people. 

    We may not be criminals, but all of us have something to hide. I definitely will not want people to be snooping around my online accounts. Taking up the challenge to e-mail Glenn my password wouldn't be an option either.

    The two ideas mentioned are certainly destructive and insidious. We absolutely do not want to promote the idea that all who seek and value privacy are involved in criminal activities or planning terrorist attacks. Secondly, the thought of only being free of the dangers of surveillance when we render ourselves harmless to the political powers is nerve-racking. I may not need this right today but that does not necessarily mean that I will never need it.

    Everyone should do all we can to prevent our society becoming one that breeds conformity, obedience and submission. 

    197 words, Esther Leong, CMM/TB04

  • Kai Xin

    Glenn Greenwald has made a good point about privacy, which I agree with. For many youngsters like us, I think that we make use of the social media platform for it to be a place that we go to whenever we have opinions or rants we would like to raise. It’s a place where we could be free from judgements, like what Greenwald has said. Even though they say that there is no such thing as privacy when online, I still think it’s important even for minimal amount of privacy to be there. It’s uncalled for especially when surveillance is used to pressure prisoners into compliance as mass surveillance creates prison in the mind. Prisoners or not, they are still entitled to basic human rights and therefore, should not be under surveillance all the time. Also, like what Greenwald said, “Only people who challenge power will then have to worry about privacy”, it is also true that those who do are more prone to having themselves watched as to those who don’t. 

    (172 Words, Kaixin, CMM/TB03)

  • Adli Yusof

    I agree with Glenn Greenwald mostly because the things he said were something that I could relate to. For example, one of the main points he had in his speech was on how privacy does not necessarily cater only to bad people. Bad people being people who have intentions of carrying out acts that are against the rules. As mentioned by Eric Schmidt, “If you’re not doing anything wrong then you shouldn’t have anything to hide” which I completely disagree with. Everyone needs their personal space. It reduces the concern that people have over what others think of their actions. Which is why as mentioned by Glenn in the video, people have passwords for their social media and email accounts and bathrooms have locks on the doors. All these measures are taken to protect a person’s privacy. Is using the toilet something that’s against the rules? Is sharing videos and exchanging emails with friends something illegal? None of them are. Yet we are given the option of keeping such matters private and why is that so? It is in our nature as humans to do certain things in private. Sometimes all we need is some personal space.

    Adli Yusof, CMM/TB03, 197 words

  • Jeremy Poh

    I do agree with Glenn Greenwald but only to a certain extent. I disagree with the part he mentioned that there are two kinds of people in the world, Good and Bad. Good people are those who use Internet not for bombing attack and that since they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide and have no reason to fear the government monitoring them. While bad people are those who plot terrorist attacks or engage in violent criminality and therefore, have reasons to hide what they are doing and to care about their privacy. I believe privacy is vital not just to me, but everyone else too. An example would be making social media accounts private. Why would people do that? It is clearly because people are merely uncomfortable with sharing their personal information to people they do not know. This does not make them a person who has plans in plotting a terrorist attack. In conclusion, the mentality of classifying people who care about their privacy as bad people who plot terrorist attack should be discarded.

    179 words, Jeremy Poh, CMM/TB03

  • Nicole Lee

    I only partially agree with Glenn Greenwald’s speech. Of course, privacy is an important thing for us but it is barely a norm now since everyone is sharing their details online. However, people can choose what to show and what not to show online through their privacy settings. Some people even have private accounts as they don’t want the whole world to know about what they’re up to, or that some of their activities are only meant for people that they know personally. Does that always necessarily mean that they are planning a terrorist attack? 

    On the part where he asked people for their emails and passwords, I think it was somewhat irrelevant. Some activities are supposed to be confidential not because of bad intentions but if those emails were meant for work, the confidentiality could very well be a company policy. Again, there are certain activities and details that some people are comfortable with sharing with the whole world, but not everything is public.

    I think the stereotype that all people who keep things private are up to no good is invalid and should not be used. 

    188 words, Nicole Lee, CMM, TB03

  • reneeandrienne

    I agree that privacy is highly valued by people all around the world nowadays whether being it consciously known or not. Some may say that they have nothing to hide and is not up to bad deeds, therefore they do not value that privacy. However so, mandatory steps like setting passwords for their emails or even towards their electronic devices, is a practice of such privacy. There is a need for a barrier between the public and self to create a sense of safety around personal information no matter what. This kind of privacy is not seen as something that is appreciated or even realized by the public. However so, it is the kind of privacy that makes the world somewhat safer as there is an extra step taken to protect such valued informations.

    (134 words, Renee, TB03)

  • Kameowlia

    I agree with what Glenn Greenwald has to say about the fact that privacy matters. However, I do not agree that only bad people, or people who have done something wrong, need privacy. He mentioned that when aware we are being watched, our behaviour changes drastically. I completely agree with this. This is due to the sense of, "This is something I'm willing to do only if no one else is watching." I feel that every individual is different and each of us go through our own struggles and have our own self-discovery to do. Let’s say I am a teenager who was diagnosed with depression and is in the early stage of recovery. I would not want anyone to be able to see my relapses as I feel that would mess up my mentality even more. I would try my best to seem normal as I am being watched, but inside, I am still struggling as I am not given a private outlet to recover one step at-a-time. Every single person is entitled to privacy, whether or not they did something ‘bad’. We make our own mistakes and choices in life. Those experiences should not belong to anyone else. 
    (200 words, Kamilia, CMM, TB03)

  • dxbbie

    I agree with Glenn Greenwald's views. Privacy should not be a factor in categorizing a good person from a bad person. Someone wanting privacy does not necessarily mean that they have bad intentions. Everyone wants privacy. That is why social media accounts and emails have passwords so that only the owner of those accounts can have access to their information.

    I myself find privacy very important to me. For instance, I have a private blog that only I have access to. The private blog enables me to put my feelings and views out without the use of a pen and paper. I find the blog as a way to express my emotions as a diary would probably be found by someone who I do not want reading my thoughts. You see, with me wanting privacy, I am not a bad person. I just do not want people knowing my inner thoughts.

    Hence, I think privacy matters a lot to not only myself, but to everyone else.

    (166 words, Debbie May CMM/TB02)

  • swagv

    Nasim Taleb was 100% right about TED…what a cynical, self-serving forum to address this topic.
    That said, Greenwald played a critical role as seen Citizenfour. But despite not being a journalist, Aral Balkan does a much better job conveying a lot of the same information (look up his talks about, and one even called "The Camera Panopticon"). And as Aral points out, the surveillance is merely a matter of governments asking for a copy for the espionage already being performed by all the major Internet media services — stuff people are already willing to give freely to Google, Facebook, etc.

  • Piro The Great

    This filthy sodomite is correct. Hard to listen to one of these people talk knowing how fucked they are in the head and knowing he's a coprophiliac and a pedophile but he's right.

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