Privacy Issues: We All Have Them
In the essay, “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’”, published on May 15, 2011, Professor Daniel J. Solove is trying his best to convince his well sophisticated audience that the issue of privacy affects more than just the everyday people veiling a wrong doing. His argument focuses around ethos, and a lot of it. Although there are some logos and pathos, they aren’t as nearly as strong as his ethos. In the type of society that we live in today, privacy has become more and more broad. Everyone sees it on an everyday occurrence just about; including on social networking sites, HIPAA forms, or even with people just simply observing you and what you do. This could be anything from talking on the phone, to searching something on the internet. This essay is ethical as well as logical in tone, appealing to his audience. He starts this argument off with his “I’ve got nothing to hide” argument, which is mentioned in arguments regarding the government’s gathering of our personal information as well as data. Solove explains how this argument goes from a faulty definition of what privacy truly is, as well as what it retains. The importance of the nothing-to-hide argument says that since the information will not be revealed to the people of the public, the “privacy interest is minimal, Wittke 2
and the security interest in preventing terrorism is much more important” (Solove, pg. 3). This is basically stating that privacy issues are not just problems in the US, but in other countries as well. Also, this means that the government is only doing this to help us, the people, stay well protected against terrorism. He reassures us that this is not just the case, but that we need to be focused on what is happening with the government observing our privacy in the U.S. He is using some of both logos and pathos in this quote. The logos as a fact that privacy issues aren’t as important as the terrorism issues we have in this country. The pathos because he is trying to make his audience concerned about this fact. Solove states that debates about government surveillance and data collection don’t just target on problems with the storage and processing of the information accumulated from watching us and what we do. But, they only target the gathered as well as the use of our personal information. He argues that the process of information storage creates an imbalance among the government and public. Usually in the favor of the government. They are the ones looking into our personal information and data. The government collects a small amount of information that they tell us is harmless, just as it appears to us Then, they use this information to build up assumptions of our everyday lives and how we live our lives. We are at risk even if the government finds a few small things that end up building up or rather one larger thing or event. Because we aren’t aware of this, because they do it in secret, we are unable to fix these misconceptions they might have of us and what we do. Privacy is not usually exposed by one big act, but by small almost harmless acts that build up after time and time again. Each act may seem little, but eventually “the government will be watching and knowing everything about us” (Solove, pg. 10), which seems true so far. Wittke 3
Daniel J. Solove is a law professor at the George Washington University Law School. This already is giving Solove credibility with ethos showing that he is well educated. This essay is also an excerpt from his new book, called Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security, published in May of 2011 through the Yale University Press. This is also giving Solove credibility with ethos considering this argument is over privacy. He adequately sways his audience that the “nothing-to-hide” argument doesn’t adequately cover every problem that occurs from the information and...
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