Without privacy, there can be no freedom. Nowhere has this concept been better articulated than in George Orwell’s timeless classic dystopian novel, "1984." Mass surveillance and bulk data collection practices have been utilized by every oppressive political regime in history. William Binney is an NSA whistleblower who has sounded the alarm about the dangers of warrantless surveillance. Journalist Glenn Greenwald first broke the Edward Snowden story in 2013. He has given a Ted Talk entitled “why privacy matters.”

Privacy and personal liberty

With the end of private life comes the end of personal freedom.

As articulated in “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent,” by Harvey Silvergate, the average person commits several felonies during the course of his or her daily routine. They may not be doing anything wrong by most standards. Yet because there are so many millions of laws on the books, some legislation exists somewhere that can indict you on something you did. And with mass surveillance and bulk data collection, that data certainly exists and can be brought up with a simple search.

Privacy advocate & NSA whistleblower William Binney

RT America reports that William Binney helped to create the anti-privacy programs used by the NSA and other illegal spying agencies today. In an interview with Sean Stone of Watching the Hawks, he reveals the true intent behind mass surveillance and bulk data collection.

Anyone who has studied history will not be shocked by his revelations.

“It’s about controlling the population,” he says, with regard to eliminating privacy. He alluded to two of the most well-known examples in recent times where authorities were able to utilize this data in an indiscriminate way to pursue their own ends. “If you don’t like what the Tea Party is doing, you have the data to direct the IRS to slow-roll their activities.

If you don’t like what Occupy Wall Street is doing, you have the data to get those people off the streets.”

These anti-privacy practices are illegal under the constitution. As Binney mentions, they violate the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. Furthermore, they do not protect anyone from anything. Most people are not terrorists.

To prevent terrorism, one would have to zero in on people suspected of plotting attacks. Mass surveillance is the equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack and throwing the haystack into Lake Michigan. How can anyone expect that to make the search easier?

Privacy eliminated even though terror has not been suppressed

As we have seen all too often in recent times, data has been collected beforehand on people who commit atrocities. There are too many examples to count in which the authorities knew whom they were and that they posed a threat. They have admitted this every single time. Yet they were powerless to stop it. Why? They weren’t looking for it or attempting to prevent anything. The simple fact of the matter is that these surveillance programs have nothing to do with protecting the populace from terrorism.

That very concept is fueled by an intense paranoia that inclines one to accept such egregious intrusions upon privacy as somehow warranted and necessary. There can be no debate involving “privacy versus security,” as it has so often been framed. This is a false dichotomy. A more accurate debate would be freedom versus tyranny. Those who remain fearful enough to sacrifice their own freedom in order to ensure a false sense of security are weak and feeble-minded fools.

The following Ted Talk speaks volumes about the importance of privacy in a free society. It has been featured in a recent post on the Protonmail blog.

As journalist Glenn Greenwald makes clear in his TED Talk, we all have things to hide.

Maintaining a certain level of privacy is essential to personal freedom. Just try asking someone who claims privacy doesn’t matter for his or her email passwords. They will object, yet they do not object to an agency having such access.

A whole host of services exist, that can assist in protecting one’s privacy in this digital era in which we live. They will be covered in-depth in a future article.