In No Place to Hide Glenn Greenwald writes:
Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free—safe—to truly experiment, to test boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to be ourselves. What made the Internet so appealing was precisely that it afforded the ability to speak and act anonymously, which is so vital to individual exploration.
Are bullying and harassment forms of “individual exploration” that require anonymity?
OK, maybe that’s unfair. But he goes on to write: “For that reason, it is in the realm of privacy where creativity, dissent, and challenges to orthodoxy germinate. A society in which everyone knows they can be watched by the state … is one in which those attributes are lost…”
I don’t approve of unwarranted mass surveillance, but it would be pretty sad if all artists and thinkers were as inhibited by the presence of others as Greenwald thinks they are.