Why Privacy Matters (Glenn Greenwald)

Glenn Greenwald, who now writes for First Look's digital magazine The Intercept, delivered this talk at the TEDGlobal 2014 conference:

Why Privacy Matters: A TED Talk by Glenn Greenwald

[ A bit of Greenwald's talk, transcript ]

In a 2009 interview with the long-time CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, who when asked about all the different ways his company is causing invasions of privacy ... said “If you're doing something that you don't want other people to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.”

There's all kinds of things to say about that mentality. The first of which is that the people who say that -- who say that privacy isn't really important -- don't actually believe it. And the way you know that they don't actually believe it is that while they say with their words that privacy doesn't matter, with their actions they take all kinds of steps to safeguard their privacy.

They put passwords on their email and social media accounts. They put locks on their bedroom and bathroom doors. All steps designed to prevent other people from entering what they consider their private realm and knowing what it is that they don't want other people to know.

The very same Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, ordered his employees at Google to cease speaking with the online internet magazine Cnet after Cnet published an article full of personal private information about Eric Schmidt which it obtained exclusively through Google searches and using other Google products.

This same division can be seen with the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who in an infamous interview in 2010 pronounced that privacy is no longer a “social norm”.

Last year Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife purchased not only their own house, but also all four adjacent houses in Palo Alto for a total of $30 million in order to ensure that they enjoyed a zone of privacy that prevented other people from monitoring what they do in their personal lives.