TRY: This Man Has Nothing to Hide

Society would be better if no one had any secrets. Email and bank accounts are just a small piece. A person who truly had nothing to hide would also consent to footage being captured when they're, say, fighting with their kids, sitting on the toilet, masturbating, and negotiating with their boss for a pay raise.

By Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

When someone debating privacy says, "but I don't have anything to hide," I am immediately suspicious. "Would you prove it by giving me access to your email accounts," I've taken to replying, "along with your credit card statements and bank records?" Not a single person has ever taken me up on that challenge–until now.

Arizona resident Noah Dyer emailed me about an anti-privacy project he is promoting. I replied in my usual way. And to my surprise, he sent all his passwords.

"I have given you the things you’ve asked for, and have done so unconditionally," he wrote. "I’ve given you the power to impersonate me. I request that you do not take advantage of me in this way, though I have obviously not made that desire a precondition to sharing the info with you. Additionally, while you may paint whatever picture of me you are inclined to based on the data and our conversations, I would ask you to exercise restraint in embarrassing others whose lives have crossed my path ... Again, I have not made your agreement to that request a condition of sharing the data. I don’t think I have enough money that you would bother to take it or spend it. Look forward to talking more and seeing the article!"

"Wow," I thought. "How reckless to give this access to a complete stranger!" Then I logged in to his email.

* * *

Until age 21, Noah Dyer was a virgin. In fact, he'd never made it as far as second base. A devout Mormon, he then married, had four children, and decided that maybe there isn't a God after all. This caused him to rethink all of his ethical beliefs. Now in his early thirties, he insists that he hasn't changed much in the big picture.

"Zero is still the amount of times I've killed someone, robbed someone, raped someone, taken illicit drugs, or even had alcohol or other substances," he says. "What I did reevaluate and decided to change drastically was my behavior in regard to sex. Don't get me wrong. I loved my wife. I loved our sex. I was happy with all matters in our relationship except for one thing. I really wanted to have sex with other people. And in the absence of a jealous God who is overly concerned about where I rub my genitals, I couldn't figure out why I shouldn't."

Two years of counseling ensued. After much reflection, Dyer decided that a polyamorous lifestyle was, in fact, for him. He is now a divorced professor at a technical college with no credit cards and extremely uninteresting finances, largely because the bulk of his paychecks are directly deposited, per his preference, in the account of his ex-wife.

 And having been transparent with his coreligionists about his loss of faith and with his ex-wife about his lost willingness to be monogamous, he gradually came to this life philosophy: Society would be better if no one had any secrets. Email and bank accounts are just a small piece. A person who truly had nothing to hide would also consent to footage being captured when they're, say, fighting with their kids, sitting on the toilet, masturbating, and negotiating with their boss for a pay raise. Dyer is trying his damnedest to do just that. He doesn't necessarily want you to see every moment, but doesn't think he should have a right to stop you. READ MORE

Image: Still from the film The Invisible Man (1933), adapted from H.G. Wells' novel by the same name


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