I believe that privacy is a right. Every human has some notion of privacy and thus entitled to it since it comes naturally just as speech does, self defense, etc. Since I believe this is a right I also believe it is a good idea and a duty to exercise it, lest it be undermined and ignored. The reason why privacy is so important, is that it gives you space to be yourself. It's where you can be open, honest, and well... real. These are all virtues of a free people, which is why it was such a popular idea among people during the enlightenment and would later be reflected in the United States Constitution under the fourth amendment. To the point of bringing up the Constitution, it's necessary to provide the context of it in which it was to prevent the United States government from gaining too much control over the people so that the people couldn't control it. If the government can see into your private life, you have much to worry about. Anything you say or do can be used against you, and you can not be free when you have to police yourself and not express yourself in fear someone is watching you and judging you. Would you be comfortable with the government watching in to plan out protests against it? Fortunately in America, there's the facade of respect toward the first amendment and you wouldn't necessarily be thrown in jail. But you can't say the same for other countries like Germany where you could get in legal trouble for challenging the holocaust. Say what you want about the holocaust, and say what you want about deniers, but it is a right that people should be able to question things no matter how silly you find it. Now that's a real world example, but I'll make this one up to stress the point in case it was lost. Say a government banned discussion about reptilians running the world for some anti-absurdity law, but people believe and still profess their convictions. Those people still have the right to say they disagree no matter what the law says, but if you don't have a respect for privacy then they will be less likely to communicate their convictions and fizzle out as a group. Sounds good in theory because that's an absurd movement, but the real world examples are disturbing. Say an ultra-right wing government makes it illegal to talk about left wing ideologies. Would you feel comfortable talking in private about left wing politics? You wouldn't because the government would be listening in to make sure you don't have incorrect opinions, and you would censor yourself. That is not a free society. You should be able to talk about anything without fear that the government is watching you. If I want to deny the holocaust and say it was all a Jewish reptilian conspiracy, then I have every damn right to be an idiot.
When dealing with issues like anti-semitism, racism, etc. we shouldn't handle it like Germany by banishing it. As Christopher Hitchens says about holocaust denial, we should re-evaluate why we believe what we believe and why we're right and why they're wrong and approach situations with reason rather than ignorance. Though he wasn't consistent with that with handling 9/11 truthers, his point stands. If what people believe is under government control, you are not free. You are property. You have to believe what the government allows, or disagree at your peril. It's much more logical to use reason than just side with the perceived moral high ground. Nobody here denies the holocaust that I know of, so nobody would have a problem with the government banning denial. At face value, it sounds like a great progressive™ idea to move society forward. But like most good intentioned ideas, it paves the road to hell. Government regulation doesn't change people's minds, not really. People who would deny the holocaust will still do it, and now their convictions would be reinforced since there's obviously a Zionist conspiracy. I mean hell, they're making disagreements illegal! The same thing happened during the civil rights movement in America. When it became illegal overnight to judge based on skin color, America wasn't instantly cured of it's racial problems. People were still racist, and even more bitter since they now think they have to serve blacks as if they were equal to whites which they did not truly believe even though Jim Crow laws were under the "separate but equal" banner. I'm bringing race into this because if you look around you, more and more people are getting comfortable with the idea of not allowing hate speech and saying it's not free speech. As I just explained, this accomplishes nothing and hurts more than helps. If you really want racial healing, don't go after someone for saying the word nigger. If you really want to fight homophobia, don't distract yourself with getting all offended when someone uses gay as bad, or uses faggot as an insult. What you should do is be open with them and discuss what you feel with them, so that they don't have to go into their echo chambers and be private about what they actually believe. A good person isn't someone who pretends to be tolerant but goes on about dem fags behind closed doors. We should be welcoming in the public sphere so that we have no reason to invade the privacy of individuals, and we actually move forward rather than cowarding to the perceived moral high ground.
Now, I think that's it for now on privacy in general. I also want to discuss privacy online.
I don't have much to hide, but I still have private matters. There's a reason why passwords exist, is so that you can only access stuff that is meant for you and anyone you share with. I use passwords because whatever I have a password for, is meant for me or anyone I share with. In order to protect my privacy I use them, just like a person would have a lock on their house. My data is mine. When I hear government surveillance is rampant, and corporations are working together with each other and the government to track people I feel the need to exercise my right to privacy as I described above. I simply find it unethical to invade people's privacy, which is why I make it as hard as possible for people to try. I have several different block lists for different things, I use encryption while browsing, and I alter what I send to sites so my actual information isn't sent. Now I said I make it as hard as possible, not impossible for people to try and track me. I still use Windows which is littered with backdoors and trackers, I use Chrome which has basically no respect for privacy and is basically called a Google Botnet, and that's all on me. I simply use these for convenience because I'm not hiding anything sensitive about myself. If I weren't, I would take further steps to secure myself and my privacy. There's stuff people don't want others to know about them, and that should be respected. I'll use myself as a real world example for this. I've been struggling since I was a kid about my identity and what I believe in and feel. Ever since about the start of middle school, I've started questioning my faith and my sexuality (this I will keep private for the most part in my explanation because I've mostly worked out my faith issues). I grew up in a religious surrounding, so I felt conflicted as I lost my faith. Eternal fire, apocalypse, hurting feelings for discussing my lack of faith, etc. I never really told anyone besides my friends, which were also in the same boat as I was so there wasn't much to worry about in terms of discussing how I feel. I wanted to wait until I figured out my beliefs and non-beliefs so I didn't make an ass of myself when I could change my mind later on and tear up the family for nothing. Over the years I've heard pestering how I should be honest about my beliefs, but now that I've basically grown up I think that would have been a terrible mistake. I'm not religious, but I don't tip my fedora at every pop science social media page that quotes Neil deGrasse Tyson either. In fact I don't really call myself an atheist anymore, and I have recently gravitated toward deism but I'm getting off track. The point is that my beliefs were changing and I wanted to keep it private until I got them figured out. Being the child I was, I had no sense of securing my privacy and plastered my opinions all over sites I visited. At one point, my mother actually referenced it when I had never told her nor intended to. I blame myself for being an idiot and not keeping my stuff private, but I also lost trust since snooping shouldn't have happened in the first place. Now that I think about it, that experience probably influenced my opinions on privacy a bit without my realizing. I've moved on from that though. Also I was lucky enough to have the sense to have AdBlock installed. This is relevant because ad sites track what you browse to bring relevant ads to you. I have a huge problem with companies knowing more about me than people do, which is why I have sympathy for people who get serious shit due to their private matters when pop ups come up advertising gay porn to an intolerant family for example. This is actually a thing that happens to where companies know more about you than your parents and other people and it can get you in deep trouble.
Relevant links from people who are better at explaining things than I and food for thought:
Oh and uh, I have to mention it's not a needle in a haystack to track you. In fact it's simple. What matters is how unique you appear online. Factors such as browser plugins, user-agents, IPs, browser types, cookies, and cache data, can all be used to single you out and that's just off the top of my head. Use this site: http://ip-check.info/?lang=en
to test your anonymity and privacy.