Saturday, July 20, 2013

Privacy

The right to privacy isn't in the Constitution so we can keep to ourselves. It's so we can get together, plan, plot, organize.  

You can't trade stories about how the boss is treating you or say what the boss is paying you if the boss is standing there. As Garret Keizer writes in the Boston Globe, "Of course, no one gets this better than the person holding the whip. In a situation lacking privacy, there’s no place to escape, surely one reason why totalitarian regimes and abusive households both hold privacy suspect. And when privacy is suspect, it’s only a matter of time before the inmates hold one another suspect."

Keizer quotes Constitutional scholar Kenneth L. Karst who speaks of privacy as protecting our “freedom of intimate association,” our ability to consort with people of our own choosing.

And if we can't get together, share our thoughts, reveal something of ourselves, the veil of mistrust through which we view the people we encounter, the people we don't know, will never be lifted.

In this light, it doesn't matter what the government's motives are for invading our privacy. It doesn't matter whether they sincerely think they're protecting us from terrorism, or want to prevent us from organizing, or whether they have fascist tendencies. All that matters is that they are there, recording where we go, who we talk to, who that person talks to, where they go.

If you think you have nothing to hide, well, you have nothing to hide. You'll never be a problem for anyone.

You can read Keizer's brief essay here.


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