I leave the bank and go to the bookstore. They might know my credit card number (unless I pay in cash). They might have one of my phone numbers if I give it to them. They might keep a list of the books I've bought (if I filled in their "customer survey"). They don't know my bank account number or Social Security number. They don't know a lot about me; I mean... it's only a bookstore. They might not even know my "legal name."
I leave the bookstore and go to the coffee shop. Those people don't know anything more than (perhaps) I like sugar twists, I like double milk for my coffee and I usually come in at a certain time (providing the same person is on shift at the same time daily). They don't know any of the preceeding information. Why do they need it, when all I want is coffee and a doughnut?
No one thinks this is unusual. No one thinks I am "hiding" anything. No one thinks such behaviour is "shifty" or "suspicious." No one thinks I am "concealing my identity behind a first- name-only relationship."
Why should I provide an X-ray and proctoscopic detailed report on everything I do in my life to, basically, shopkeepers? Because that's what a lot of this internet jazz is about, isn't it? A bunch of shopkeeps, who want me to buy stuff. Just... store clerks. Yet they want information I do not give to my bank or my doctor all at one time, let alone some random store owner like K-Mart or the local deli.
It's been shown hundreds of times that these people, who really have no business in my business, are unable to secure their information. Unlike many, I actually investigate and study these breeches of information. Like most who do, the figures are clear: more than 3/4 of these breeches are inside jobs and sheer negligence, as they always have been. Sony got "hacked" not for monetary gain but to demonstrate their failure to meet the requirements of data handling and security to which they are legally responsible.
So, it is somehow "suspicious" of me to be wary of turning over sensitive data, which has no bearing on my purchasing some widget from a store, to people who have shown time and again their inability to protect such information? Don't give me that jazz about "hackers" or I will have to inundate you with links to statistics and charts on the last 100 high-profile data losses. Google them yourself. As an old professor of mine used to say, "do your own homework."
"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." This seems to be the huge mantra being pushed these days. It is used as a justification to require me to submit to a data examination that would put an IRS audit or OB-GYN exam to shame. This is a classic straw man argument.
Am I "hiding" when I don't tell the bookstore my SSN? Hiding when I don't tell the bank I like Cocoa Crispies? Hiding when I don't tell the coffee shop what I bought yesterday and what medicines I am taking? Sounds ridiculous when you put it that way, yes?
And this vaunted transparency does not work both ways. It is a one-way mirror, which is not transparency at all. When police installed cameras in all their squad cars, they did it with great hoopla. Yet now... those cameras are being quietly removed. Why? Because they showed things the police don't want shown or subpoenaed. Malls can film me; I can't film in a mall. I can't take photos of public buildings, yet those buildings can train cameras on me.
The TSA can stick their fingers in my genitals but I cannot take a photo of them doing it without the threat of my camera being confiscated, my name put on a "hassle list" and the chance of a nice cosy interrogation in some small room. I can't film a cop tasering someone, even if I am standing well out of the "area of conflict."
The proponents of this one-way transparency crap use "violation of civil rights" as a cover for denying the filming of a public servant (police) doing the job I trust them to do and pay for with my taxes. They throw up unnecessary roadblocks and delays to deny information requests they are legally required to answer. In fact, they do everything they can to hide information from me.
So who is it that has "nothing to hide, nothing to fear"? Who is it that wants to stick alien probes into me and suck out and coordinate every single scrap of data I produce in my entire life, and yet will not let me access public information under legal requests? Who is it that fears cameras and accountability? Who is it that pushes "transparency" on me under the cover of fear-mongering (terrorism, 'think of the children') and yet fears transparency on the other side?
I have nothing to hide. But I refuse to get naked and allow the jellied finger to probe me simply because I want to talk or shop. Just because "it's the internet!!!" doesn't make common sense nor common practice suddenly "strange" or "suspicious."
It's a lot more suspicious to me, this push towards "total accountability" and "total transparency" on my part when I can't get the same from public agencies that use my money for funding. When my bank makes me jump through hoops to get my money but has a website "hackable" simply by reading the URL (which is a complete failure on their IT team's design; this "hack" has been known since pre-web days).
When I do not have to hack to get your info; there are many companies that will simply sell me your info in bulk. Don't believe me? Do some quick research. Yep, they'll sell me everything you filled in on their little forms (banks, insurance agencies, you name it) in bulk, for pennies a name.
The only reason that makes sense to me about this "call to transparency" and "accountability" is a bunch of shopkeeps that want to buy and sell me as a commodity. The information they glean from me is not for my benefit; it's for them.
Oh, and there might be one other reason: there are laws pertaining to the gathering of intelligence by the State and the Government. However... when the State and the Government are merely buying information from these companies... they're just another customer. It's only business. See how slick that is? A nice way to route around such unpleasantness as the laws and Constitutions that are held up to us as guidelines.
Transparency? Sure! Quit hiding the backroom negotiations and text of the P.R.O.T.E.C.T.I.P. Act! Stop hiding the deals to turn a public utility (the data transmission lines we paid for) into a private enterprise. Stop seizing domain names without a warrant which I can access. Show me the budget breakdown for the TSA. Quit hiding the medical reports about backscanner radiation exposure levels...
This is not "transparency;" this is an interrogation in a room with one-way glass.