The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution
Some people tell me that they don’t need to use secure communication because they have nothing to hide. I like to acknowledge that it is their choice not to use it, but that there are many people in our society whom we would want to have access to privacy and security because they handle sensitive information about themselves or others and by using it, we can indirectly support them.
These people include doctors, lawyers, journalists, activists, whistleblowers, accountants, real estate agents, LGBTIQA+ youth, political leaders, human rights defenders, nonviolent protestors, academic researchers and those who live and work with them. A loss of privacy or security for these people would likely threaten the well-being of themselves and everyone else involved.
We depend heavily on many of these people to provide institutions and services that help maintain our health, well-being, and freedom. By using secure communications, we can create a culture that better respects and appreciates their work and lives. When we participate in and contribute to the culture of secure communications, we help develop the infrastructure that these people depend on. We can help protect and promote our democracy by allowing minority groups to reach each other, point out hidden problems, and voice their opinions.
So, even if you don’t have anything to hide, there is a lot you may gain from joining the movement towards a more secure and private internet. I invite you to join me. Besides, practicing secure communications is a habit that takes time to adopt and you might being one of those people we depend on before you know it.
- Surveillance Self-Defense: Tips, Tools, and How-Tos for Safe Online Communications – A guide to defending yourself from surveillance by using secure technology and developing careful practices.
- Email Self-Defense – A guide to fighting surveillance with GnuPG encryption.
- Freedom of the Press Foundation – Supporting and defending journalism dedicated to transparency and accountability since 2012.
- Privacy.net – What does the Government know about you?
- Wikipedia’s page on Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
News and Blogs
- The Intercept – Chatting in Secret While We’re All Being Watched
- ProtonMail’s blog post on PGP encrypted email and how it works
- The rest of ProtonMail’s Blogs on Privacy and Security
- The New York Times Privacy Project