Journalism, representation and the public sphere

Title chapter:"I have nothing to hide". A coping strategy in a risk society
Author:Maria Murumaa-Mengel, Katrin Laas-Mikko, Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt
Keywords: informational privacy, coping strategies, survey data on privacy, Estonia
Abstract:The right to control and limit access to one's information is increasingly discussed not only in the context of governments, but also within big multi-national companies. Estonia is proud of its emerging e-state, where increasing number of services are being provided online with more and more data collected about citizens. The Soviet past of living under the watchful eye of "Big Brother" makes Estonia an interesting and unique case for studying informational privacy. Many have argued that in the modern society, if you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide, using this argument as a way to legitimize loss of privacy. This article explores how the "nothing to hide" -argument can be conceptualized as a coping strategy in complex informational privacy situations. We will introduce some of the results of a nationally representative Estonian survey, "Right to privacy as a human right and everyday technologies", aimed at studying people's general understanding of privacy and perception about various potentially privacy invasive situations. Whether acknowledged or not, people are in a state of constant stress - they think many of the actors (the state, employers, enterprises and other people) could jeopardize their privacy, and yet at the same time, they are routinely in situations where their information is collected. To cope with the privacy invasive situations and practices, many have adopted the belief that they have nothing to hide. This strategy, while functional for the individual, means that structurally people adopt self-censorship strategies or slowly lose trust in the society at large.
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