The Atlantic

This Man Has Nothing to Hide—Not Even His Email Password

If Noah Dyer has his way, everyone else will be stripped of any rights to privacy too.
Source: Issei Kato / Reuters

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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
‘News From Here Doesn’t Go Out’: Kashmir Simmers Under Lockdown
There have been daily protests since August 5, when the Indian government revoked the region’s special status.
The Atlantic9 min readSociety
America Moved On From Its Gay-Rights Moment—And Left a Legal Mess Behind
Half a decade after the Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision, the justices and Congress are still trying to figure out what federal law should say about LGBTQ rights.
The Atlantic5 min readScience
A Tissue Sample From 1966 Held Traces of Early HIV
To understand the virus’s history, a team worked to reconstruct its genome from a time before anyone knew the virus existed.