I'm having a discussion with someone who thinks they don't need technical measures of privacy or anonymity.
Common arguments against needing to care about privacy or anonymity include:
- Everything about them can be Googled or searched from public records
- Their personal information is already out there from companies who have been exploited
- Credit card insurance protects them from fraud
- There is no value in trying to protect future communications (data is already out there)
- They don't consider themselves a valuable target
- They feel the technical expertise is beyond their reach, and therefore don't try
- Anonymity is only needed for dark web, or criminal efforts
- They have nothing inflammatory, or of potential conflict to say
My intent is to gather a finite list of occasions when either privacy or anonymity is needed for a typical end user in the UK or US. I will use these scenarios with the common actors, Alice, Bob and Mallory.
Here are some possible answers for this question:
Scenarios for anonymity
- Voting (why, to prevent provable coercion of votes, or retaliation from opposers)
- Anonymous donors (to charity or political organization )
- The witness protection program is a way of creating a new living persona (almost akin to creating a new email account or Twitter handle)
Scenarios for privacy
- GPS coordinates of your phone should not be exposed to stalkers or thieves who want to rob you
- Conversations with a friend who is doing drugs illegally, should not notify law enforcement
- Google searches, chats and phone calls to suicide prevention, disease, or drug hotlines for someone else
- Conversations about sexual and reproductive health (Planned Parenthood)
- Prevent against the intentional, or unintentional misunderstanding of an email, SMS, or other communication, resulting in legal/police action
- An accidental violation of an NDA resulting in the victim getting terminated
- Sometimes laws must be broken for society to progress
- The government may accidentally put someone on a Watch List, making travel more difficult
- Anytime someone entrusts them with a secret, they need privacy to protect that. Someone with nothing to hide does not protect or guard that secret.
Scenarios for privacy and anonymity
- Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition. Take Coca Cola for example.
- The scope and reach of the military industrial complex is a relatively new addition to the American freedom experiment. (source Eisenhower farewell speech). This is an open ended, undefined threat I can't articulate.
As you can see "anonymity" is harder for me to articulate than simple privacy. Focus and assistance here is appreciated, but interesting privacy scenarios would be useful as well.
I am interested in scenarios targeting an end user (non technical) located in the US or UK.
What are some more scenarios where someone else will do something illegal resulting in a victim getting punished for someone else's crime?
Or, for people who think that anonymity is only for criminals, when would anonymity-protecting tools would reduce risk?
This Bruce Schneier article lightly touches on how trust (that the message will not be taken out of context) can change the content of what's being said. For example, someone listening in on a phone call, even if was a momentary / false suspicion, might change the tone and word choice being used. This makes me think that there is a psychological need for privacy and anonymity.
Documents from psychological studies might provide more when examples. (I'm more interested in the example than the study)