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  1. The innocent have nothing to hide... - Jonathan Pryor's web log
    1. The innocent have nothing to hide...

The innocent have nothing to hide... - Jonathan Pryor's web log

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The innocent have nothing to hide...

A common phrase, which used to be a cliché, is this: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Slashdot, as usual, has a wonderful comment by SuperBanana with one possible problem.

(Un)Fortunately, we don't need to stick to theoretical arguments. As Lord Action says, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

So what happens when police believe that a bar is facilitating drug deals? Well, as TheAgitator mentions, the police take 70-90 SWAT officers to raid the bar, under the auspices of an Alcohol Beverage Control inspection (because that doesn't need a warrant), and find no evidence of drug deals...except for the drug deals that the police themselves were involved in (as part of undercover investigations). Can you say "entrapment?"

The innocent may have nothing to hide, but they also have rights, rights to live their live however they see fit (within the law), without needing to justify their actions to whoever requests them. The problem is that this "innocent have nothing to hide" meme shortchanges the rights of the innocent, subjecting them to life in a police state, including SWAT raids, when they have never done anything to deserve such treatment.

In short, this meme persists only to make the lives of the authorities easier, at the expense of everyone else, and eventually of everyone's respect for the law.

UPDATE: Bruce Schneier also discusses this meme.

Posted on 21 Feb 2006 | Path: /wtf/ | Permalink
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