Anytime someone on this subreddit asks how to respond to people who say they have nothing to hide, there’s always someone who will suggest “give me all your passwords.” That is so condescending it’s like I can feel their smug sense of self-satisfaction through my screen. Someone is saying “I have nothing to hide” and your response is essentially “yes you do, you’re just too stupid to realize it.” That will never change anyone’s mind.

Instead of trying to convince someone they have something to hide, explain how they have plenty to lose.

Most people would agree it’s a bad idea to post their Social Security Number on Facebook. Many people would also agree it’s a bad idea to post their bank account information on Facebook. Is this because their SSN or bank info is shameful? No, it’s because that person is worried about identity theft or having their bank account emptied out. These pieces of information are private because there is a potential for loss. Even a person with “nothing to hide” can have their identity stolen.

What about your home address? Is it safe to post that online? Some people might think that’s fine, others might be worried their home could be broken into. This is because privacy isn’t an on/off switch. It’s a sliding scale of how much you’re willing to share with the world and how much you’re willing to risk that information being used against you.

This means not everyone has to match your threat model. If you’re trying to convince someone they should care about privacy, that doesn’t mean they’re required to care about it to the same extent that you do. When someone says “I have nothing to hide” what they mean is “I have nothing I’m ashamed of.” All you’re trying to do is convince them that all information has value, rather than thinking only shameful information has value and must be kept private. Hell, you can even agree with them, they do have nothing to hide (good for them!) but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to lose. Having nothing to hide has nothing to do with whether privacy matters.


This is really interesting, never thought of it this way. Thanks for sharing!


My mind has been blown


Instead of trying to convince someone they have something to hide, explain how they have plenty to lose.

Convincing anyone of anything is difficult. Explaining how just extending their idea of protecting their bank info and SSN to other stuff they care about too is much easier.


Arent you shifting the issue away from privacy and to security in this way?


Personally, I would count privacy as just one aspecy of security. You use security to protect your privacy, e.g. from spyware, and you use privacy measures to strengthen your security, e.g. from identity theft, spear phishing etc…

Trying to separate the two feels like it was perpetrated by Google, Facebook et al. At least they benefit from it when security absolutionists ignore privacy and when Google Chrome is called a “secure” browser, even though it leaks your information across half the globe.

Iván Ávalos 🇲🇽

I would personally count security as a subset of privacy, because, it’s no use to have the most secure system when it shares all your data to third-parties; but you need security if you want to make sure there’s no easy way to steal data from your system.


The problem with that definition is that security protects more than just privacy. The areas are usually described as: Confidentiality

Privacy is a subset of confidentiality. Non-privacy-related confidentiality is e.g. that secrets of some organisation don’t get leaked.

Integrity means that data should not be modifiable by outside parties. So, when you send your bank transfer request, you don’t want someone to be able to change the receiver of that transfer.

And Availability means that you can (reliably) access some service or e.g. that your device continues to boot.


Yea sometimes privacy means better security.


I think you are correct. Instead of asking for password, it’s better to ask them to show you their browsing history.

A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

In this community everyone is welcome to post links and discuss topics related to privacy.

Some Rules

  • Posting a link to a website containing tracking isn’t great, if contents of the website are behind a paywall maybe copy them into the post
  • Don’t promote proprietary software
  • Try to keep things on topic
  • If you have a question, please try searching for previous discussions, maybe it has already been answered
  • Reposts are fine, but should have at least a couple of weeks in between so that the post can reach a new audience
  • Be nice :)

Related communities

much thanks to @gary_host_laptop for the logo design :)

  • 0 users online
  • 4 users / day
  • 51 users / week
  • 146 users / month
  • 553 users / 6 months
  • 4.36K subscribers
  • 2.11K Posts
  • Modlog