Privacy and search engines

It is no secret that search engines keep track of searches made. Any website logs accesses and most websites track your activity via cookies for reasons involving both your benefit and that of the site you're accessing. You may be surprised to find out that even video players used for online videos come with their own version of cookies that are not under the control of browsers. In other words there's a lot of tracking going around. As someone that has been raised in a communist country, I still remember my parents cautioning me to not discuss "politics" at school and no matter what, under any circumstances, ever make any mention of listening to Radio Free Europe. So, I can say that in a sense privacy has been instilled in me from quite a young age and that makes me very sensitive to comments basically saying that "if you're good, you have nothing to hide" - because that makes the assumption that you have nothing to hide from other good guys. Yes, but what about the bad guys and what about good guys later turning bad?

All this makes me feel uneasy when I hear dismissive talk of privacy from people that should know better (won't say who - important people). Bruce Schneier writes often about the value of privacy and if you find appeal in the idea that privacy is just for bad people, then it might help read one of his articles on privacy. I'll just end with a famous quote from a famous American: “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”.

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