The SmartPrivacy Manifesto

SmartPrivacy was founded to explore, discuss, and edify on concepts of personal security, freedom, and privacy for users of the internet and technology products.

Why Does Privacy Matter?

The first question that comes to mind when people begin looking into privacy matters is: Why does privacy matter?

Before long, our searcher will encounter an argument that states:

“I have nothing to hide. Why should I care?”

Deeply ingrained in this argument is the notion that privacy only matters when someone is doing something wrong. In this situation, privacy is relegated to being a conduit for immoral, illegal, or otherwise unsavory acts. Those who seek it, are seeking cover, and darkness, by which they can hide their actions from people who might stop them or hold them accountable.

Here lies the most visible of the illogical parts of that argument: Most of the times that we seek privacy, we’re doing none of these things. We simply want to be free of the judgmental eyes of other people.

Most of us will request privacy when we’re changing our clothes or bathing. Is there something inherently wrong with these actions? Of course not.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Dance like no-one’s watching”? The beauty of this phrase is that it succinctly illustrates the concept of privacy as a way to enhance humanity.

Human shame is a very powerful motivator. If others have access to personal information regarding our deepest wants, concerns, or beliefs, especially those that we haven’t chosen to share, they can weaponize this information against us. This is why blackmail is so effective.

More innocuously, but still undesirable is that our behaviors, our beliefs, and our interests become an identifier by which we are collected, sold, and actioned upon. Vast swaths of the internet marketing industry are predicated on the notion of tracking what you do online, in order to build a profile and market products to you.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has put it better than we’d ever be able to. His Ted Talk, “Why Privacy Matters” is a must watch and has been included below for convenience.

Surveillance By Any Other Name is Still Surveillance

Governments surveil their citizens in the name of national security. Internet service providers surveil their customers in the name of network stability. Advertisers and website owners in the name of user experience. Device manufacturers in the name of product reliability.

But it’s all the same thing. It’s surveillance. You should have the right to choose what information you share and who you share it to.

Opt-In is Preferable to Opt-Out

The internet at large has become opt-out. Many services are allowed, by default, to track you until you explicitly request that they stop. To make matters worse, many of these services are unknown to most of us, so opting out can be quite difficult or impossible.

We believe that we should be the ones granting permission to collect and access our data. This can only happen at scale through a paradigm shift towards opt-in.

Individually, many tools and practices exist to make this data more difficult or impossible for services to collect. That is one purpose of this website — to surface these tools and help you understand how to use them.

Who is Behind SmartPrivacy?

The site is the work of one person, who does not wish to make himself known by anything other than an alias — because many of the actions required to create this website with integrity might cause unnecessary danger or harm.

The author of this site chooses to maintain anonymity to uphold his right and freedom to do so. When reviewing products, or exposing companies and/or organizations of wrongdoing, there is a significant legal and personal risk.

In addition, I do not think that who I am is of any importance to the reader. The recommendations, concepts, definitions, and opinions of this website are well cited, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to evaluate their accuracy.

Reader Supported and Independently Owned and Operated

SmartPrivacy is independently owned and operated. That means that we’re not beholden to some corporations goals, or a board of directors. We’re not compensated based on providing glowing reviews, selling our audience, or any other means.

We maintain complete autonomy and independence to say, and do, what we want with the site when we want to. We do not accept payments to place content on this site, or to review anything positively.