Privacy ... A rite?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Chagur, Jul 16, 2001.

  1. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

    With the power of computers increasing and the cost of computing power decreasing, one of the areas computers are finding greater use is surveillance. What at first was limited to private surveillance (ex. retail stores and gambling casinos) has moved into public spaces (ex. streets and sports stadiums).

    How much of a threat do you feel this to be to your 'right' to privacy? And do you have such a 'right' in public areas?

    Any thoughts?
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  3. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    Privacy and it's presumed right of the individual is rapidly becoming an endangered premise. We all are "given" the right to privacy as an understood though unwritten right. In some areas it borders but does not just come out and say so. And in other areas it says so but limits the range. Such as in the medical, legal, and to some extent the news field.

    But some industries tread heavily upon this and would wish it not there to prevent their access to any and all info involving you the individual. Same with law enforcement. The law does get away with public monitoring as it does not require a search warrant or a judges' signed premission based on probablitiy or reasonable suspicion. You know, for the public good.

    But I can not agree that an insurance company should skirt this right in the interest of leaning odds in their favor as to what is and is not a good risk.

    If you are a public figure, then your right to privacy is nil. It will be invaded at anytime you are the news or on the fringe of the news.

    I believe that this is the way of the future and we will see less and true privacy in public. To the point that there will be nothing you do in public that will not be available to someone, especially to a paying someone. With this trend comes the need to be onguard that our within the confines of our homes does not become another available item to be purchased by the highest bidder.
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  5. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

    Multitiered privacy?


    Agree that we'll be seeing even less privacy in public places and although I can see some justification under the guise of 'public safety', I still remember when taking part in an anti-war protest practically guaranteed that one or more government agencies would be taking your picture - a bit unnerving.
    It's that situation that bothers me most. Why should it be the case? If my Congressman is representing my interests, or the actor in the movie is performing well (even if he isn't), why do either of them have a lesser right to privacy than I have? I just don't understand it. It makes a public outcry of 'right to privacy' seem hypocritical when we don't permit 'public figures' their right to privacy.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2001
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  7. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member


    Somewhere in one of these threads I have touched upon this. I believe that I made mention that The public has a right to know has been used more times than a baseball bat. It is the club that the press screams when intruding on an individual's private rights. It is the justification that is used to both trample on those rights and be rude about it in the process.

    This tend is something that disturbs me greatly. Who gave the public this right to know to this extent? I didn't, did you the reader do this? No one I have talked to owns up to it, so where did it come from? Who gave the liberties to this extent?

    If a public figure, such as a congressman, can have no buffer to get his work done without outside interference when delicate matters are to be addressed dealing with sensitive issues how will we ever get anything done? This is one of the drivers behind city councils setting up a vote which does not just come out and say "Today we are addressing such and such issue" but instead has an open and shut vote with minimal info to tell you the viewing public what's going on.
  8. machaon Registered Senior Member


    Privacy a right? In a word, YES! The answer really is THAT simple.
  9. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

    I wonder, machaon ...

    Having experienced just about everything from the anonymity of the big city to the 'everyone knows your business' congeniality of a small town (village actually) I'd have to say that the only place someone should feel that they have a 'right' to privacy is in their own home.
  10. machaon Registered Senior Member

    I would agree if.....

    I would agree with you if it were not for the fact that I would like to be able to leave my home without having to worry about the possibility of the police or FBI searching my person for reasons that are inconsistant with the US constituton. I would agree with you if I did not believe that I should be able to conduct my daily business without the threat of government intervention. I would agree with you if I did that think that I had the right to live my life unscrutinized by an oppressive government.
  11. rde Eukaryotic specimen Registered Senior Member

    Re: Multitiered privacy?

    Rights always come secondary to money, and there's a lot of money in telling the drooling masses about what public figures are doing. As long as there are idiots out there willing to pay money to read about the marriage of someone they'll never meet in their lives, there are people who'll furnish those details. And they'll cite the fact that the people need to know, and they'll point to circulation figures of Hello or the National Inquirer (Enquirer?) to back them up.

    As long as we live in a world of assholes, celebrities will have no privacy. And we'll always live in a world of assholes.
  12. Bandit Registered Member

    "Private" is such a strong word...

    The unwritten rule of nearly every government is that you have every right to privacy as long as they dont want to know about you.

    Case in point: The UK has a higher ratio of surveillance cameras/sq.mile than any other country in the world, but the crime rate is steadily rising. If they dont stop crime, why are they put up....? Three guesses.....

    My qoutable quote of the year for 2001 will be
    "There should be limits on freedom" from the man himself, George Dubbelyuh Bushbaby. (Oh Bill, how we miss you...)

    Dont worry everybody, its for your own good

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    I have in my wallet a bunch of cards. Quite common

    Now if the right people felt the need to do so, all those cards would suddenly become so much useless plastic. Good Lord my life is in there. Its not about computerisation, its about who has access to the information, and who gave them the right to screw with it?

    Echelon, if you can read this, kiss my ass

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  13. Soupir Registered Member

    The Right to Privacy

    I think we're confusing the right to privacy with the availability of privacy. One of those has changed over time, and as Chagur writes, it has been altered quite suddenly with the arrival of computers. But the other hasn't changed, and never will. That's the right to privacy. It doesn't really change if you're a celebrity, if you're a politician, if you're a giant ogre living in North Dakota that feeds on small lambs.

    I don't believe the problem has exacerbated because of computers or technology. It's because these things, and their burst of progress in the last few years has brought with it primarily one thing: information. We are up to our ears in information. The good, the bad, the ugly. In a few mouse clicks we find area codes, quotes, Bible inconsistencies, pictures of ancient paintings, literary works and city maps in a matter of minutes. And that's if my finger slips off the mouse a few times. When I'm on, it takes seconds. And if I'm on and have a credit card, I can pull up your last month's cell phone bill for, say, a $100.

    And that's where wet1's statement, "The public has a right to know has been used more times than a baseball bat" comes in. That's just about right - and whether you want to pin it on past mistreatment by our government of secrets we may have wanted public or a misuse of this wealth of information by the few that hurts many, it doesn't matter. Perhaps in the onslaught of facts, files, and figures technology has brought us, we were too slow in containing it. It's been said that the real technology in the next years will be containing, indexing, and categorizing every whisper and sigh of fact and figure we can. And hopefully file away some of our secrets in the process.
  14. Monolith Registered Member

    question the protectors

    It's unfortunate that we as "civilized" humans cannot refrain from being "bad" - as a whole I think that we need to be protected from ourselves. But as I write this - I question those that are doing the "protecting". What is keeping them from taking advantage of the "all seeing eye"? I'd like to go to the bathroom in a public place and not see myself on the internet on some sick pee-fetish website, or try on clothes in a clothing store and not have to think about the security guard in place to making sure that no one shoplifts - checking out my underwear!

    What keeps them from using cameras and other privacy depriving devices "that we approve" from hurting us instead of helping us?

    Do we have secret monitoring devices on them as well? Can we trust no one? Are we really that paranoid?
  15. mrk Wheel Rider Registered Senior Member


    In answer to your question, "What keeps them from using the cameras which we approve from hurting us?",


    They now have camera buttons which operate off batteries (four hour life, so far...) that are only .25 in in diamiter. Would you notice one in a changing stall?

    Trust me, that security guard is checking out more than your "underwear" and most likely is NOT female. That's the bad news.

    The good news is that "supposedly" there aren't any in the actual stalls, but most state standards...and in many states they are required to post signs where video surveilence is being used but as the rest of the thread is discussing and originaly stated by Caesar Claudius, "Whom shall watch the watchers?".

    Mr. K.

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  16. mrk Wheel Rider Registered Senior Member


    As you know, the "right" to privacy has been debated for nearly 200 years in terms of what precisely is the meaning of the fourth amendment beyond that of police not being able to cast people in jail without any cause (recently altered, so as long as they call you a terrorist, first, then its okay) what precisely are the limits of "person" papers, and "effects" are. They still haven't come up with a definition, and mostly likely "in the interests of (in)Justice will not.

    As you are no doubt also aware the APA (American Patriot Act) has stripped the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments of any real value (and there is no "sunset" clause on these issues of the APA, either btw). It is not as extreme as it sounds because Law Enforcement and the courts, by practice, were ignoring them when it suited them, anyway.

    There are two issues here which are as stated by Soupir.

    1. The right as (poorly) defined, and availability (however I think he will find upon adequate examination of the issue you don't even have privacy in your own home (such as a pot grower who is using "too much" electricity-his friendly neighborhood Gov't sanction monopoly, the Electric Co will report "EXCESSIVE" use to the friendly neighborhood LEOs for him)
    2. The availability of it (nil).

    The challenge in this country (USA) I believe stems from the clause that requires government to provide for the "general" welfare, and it's cradle to grave tracking (and skewing of the facts) to fit various current agendae.

    IMHO I do not want, require, desire, nor need ANYONE else to "take care of me". The least of my choices, should I ever change my mind, would be an overpaid, under trained, incompetent (yeah, it's redundant, but true, though) bureaucrat as commanded by some self-serving, hypocritical politician. Generally, I would say that my motto towards government would be the same as So. Carolina's was, "Don't TREAD on me", however, I am told they may (and will), "legally"...

    MR. K

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