I am old and have no secrets or views, past or present, that I care about anyone knowing, but when I was younger I would have found Edward Snowden’s article deeply disturbing (Without encryption, all privacy is lost. This is our new frontline, Journal, 15 October). Personal privacy is a human right just as much as free speech.
As we grow from adolescence into young adulthood we need to be free to change our attitudes, and put those later recognised as mistaken behind us. Likewise, throughout life we need to be able to change our understanding of social and political issues and support new ideas without being held to account for attitudes we have discarded. I repeat – ideas and attitudes, not actions that affected others.
The right to privacy must include the power to speak or write freely about our ideas to those we trust, or to make purchases, without the hi-tech companies having the right to make use of our personal communications to make a profit. Above all, they should not be allowed to use them to facilitate the compiling of impersonal algorithms which may be used for party political propaganda or to our personal disadvantage as citizens. This is not yet 1984!
• Thank you yet again, Mr Snowden, for alerting us, but how predictable that the very right-leaning Priti Patel MP, our home secretary, should be demanding that Facebook abandon its encryption proposals. If Facebook went ahead, it would mean her department in particular would be unable to trawl indiscriminately through our private lives.
• Join the debate – email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters
• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition