Privacy is a fundamental right, not an anomaly

Version en anglais de mon billet La vie privée est un droit fondamental, pas une anomalie, 11 février 2014
English version of my article La vie privée est un droit fondamental, pas une anomalie, february 11th, 2014

On the occasion of the event The Day We Fight Back (a day of actions against mass surveillance), organized by many NGO which defend privacy and actors of the Internet, I’m reacting about a talk of Vint cerf, a very important member of Google, and recognized as one of the father of the net. For him: ‘privacy may be an anomaly’.

Logo de The Day We Fight Back

Day of actions against mass surveillance (The Day We Fight Back, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Fundamental rights against private benefits

Principle of a fundamental human right is that everybody mustn’t skirt or crush it, whatever the reason. This is the theory, but reality shows these rights are often crushed by practises which are often at the limit of the legality. A fundamental right as that to have a privacy, that is do something which nobody can know, is very inconveniant for many institutions or compagnies. They skirt it by using many ways: a state can proclame an act to reduce the privacy, refer to security of the country or similar; compagnies which possess web sites can proceed with a big opacity when an internaut is connecting… In all cases, a practise is still used: missing of transparency and therefore of democracy.

Passive citizens

In democracy, people is ruler and institutions and organizations which serve citizens must act with a total transparency, whatever the kind of their actions. However, in many democratic country, many citizens are passive about matters related to the Internet and the privacy. That’s the paradox of our society which is hyper-connected, but its members are diconnected. They don’t worry about their freedom and their rights on the net. Thus, institutions and compagnies allow themselves to act as they want, because it is any great claim from citizens to want the respect of their rights. A society which don’t worry about the respect of its freedom and its rights will lose them; the past abound of many examples of this, and the present to.

World will become that announced by Google ?

Google is accustomed to play the worrying oracle about future of the privacy and of the Internet. However, this web compagny is not the only which express this idea, many compagnies, politicians or members of intelligence agencies say the same. What is the goal of this speech ? To scare us ? To justify immoral practices ? In fact, they say that states and compagnies do this, because it is not a bad thing, they are just following a new movement which is inevitable. This will crush the privacy, which they consider as an anomaly. Furthermore, they say if citizens have nothing to have, they wouldn’t fear from Big Brother.

We can consider this speech as a warning or an incitement of action to defend ourself. They say to us: ‘you complain that we are violating your rights, but you don’t defend them, so you must act if you don’t want lose them in a near future’. Indeed, a such apocalyptic speech about privacy couldn’t have the sense that the lose of the privacy is a destiny. We must say to ourself that we have the power to change this situation and it is our role to act. Many organizations are defending human fundamental rights, and they need to be supported by a maximum of citizens to achieve this.


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