Source: Surveillance Kills Freedom By Killing Experimentation | WIRED, by Bruce Schneier
Excerpted from The End of Trust(McSweeney’s issue 54)
When we’re being watched, we conform. We don’t speak freely or try new things. But social progress happens in the gap between what’s legal and what’s moral.
It’s easy to imagine the more conservative among us getting enough power to make illegal what they would otherwise be forced to witness.
For social norms to change, people need to deviate from these inherited norms. People need the space to try alternate ways of living without risking arrest or social ostracization. People need to be able to read critiques of those norms without anyone’s knowledge, discuss them without their opinions being recorded, and write about their experiences without their names attached to their words. People need to be able to do things that others find distasteful, or even immoral. The minority needs protection from the tyranny of the majority.
Privacy makes all of this possible. Privacy encourages social progress by giving the few room to experiment free from the watchful eye of the many.