Founder of The Calyx Institute Nicholas Merrill shares his insight with his perspective of today’s online world in his Internet privacy speech.
Merrill, a firm believer in integrity and privacy, was one of the first to challenge the USA Patriot Act. After receiving a National Security Letter from the FBI in February of 2004 demanding records for multiple online users. While Merrill does not go in depth in the case that took almost a decade to resolve, he stresses the importance of human dignity and that there is nothing wrong with hiding oneself behind closed doors or online.
It’s often seen in news reports of the government investigating peoples’ online movement. The common argument of this is that if someone hasn't done anything wrong, they they have nothing to hide, but that’s not necessarily the case. Privacy, he continues, is not about having secrets to hide but about dignity, choice and control of who people wish to let in and out of their lives. Despite it being an online platform, it is still a place of free speech. After a decade of court appearances, Merrill walks free and proud, maintaining that he has not handed over any personal information in violation of one’s privacy to the FBI.