Privacy is a Knife

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It’s the never-ending debate: Privacy v. Security.

This recent article talks about this debate in relation to the pilot who deliberately crashed the Germanwings plane in March, killing 150 people. Because of Germany’s strict medical privacy laws, the airline didn’t know the pilot should not have been flying.

Let’s talk about the same thing, but with an analogy: knives.

We tend to like knives because they help us prepare food and feed our families; they help us open people up in the surgery room to be treated either in the case of an emergency or a planned procedure; they even help soldiers in the field if they parachute down from a helicopter and get stuck in a tree.

But then, there are these other people who like knives because they can use it to stab a person they hate, or gut someone because it creates a weird, morbid satisfaction. There are also those who use knives to inflict fear in women so that they can take advantage of them.

So…should we like this amazing tool? Or should we hate this dreadful weapon?

I think privacy is a knife – it can be used for good or for evil. Should we ban knives? Should there be an organization controlling how knives are used, who produces them, how sharp they can be? Should there be an organization that controls when knives are sharp? “But I want to cut my piece of bread!” “Oh, yeah, well, sorry, I can’t be sure you’re really using it for bread, what if you kill somebody after you eat your bread?”

I think privacy is a knife – it can be used for good or for evil.

Privacy is something we should have – it may kill people, such as in this sad German plane crash, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it.