The Biggest Threat to Our Privacy is Ourselves


Fri, Apr 13th, 2012 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this article titled The Dead Past published by the Stanford Law Review Online, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that we cannot expect the government to respect our privacy when citizens themselves don't respect their own.

Judges, legislators and law enforcement officials live in the real world. The opinions they write, the legislation they pass, the intrusions they dare engage in -- all of these reflect an explicit or implicit judgment about the degree of privacy we can reasonably expect by living in our society. In a world where employers monitor the computer communications of their employees, law enforcement officers find it easy to demand that internet service providers give up information on the web-browsing habits of their subscribers. In a world where people post up-to-the-minute location information through Facebook Places or Foursquare, the police may feel justified in attaching a GPS to your car. In a world where people tweet about their sexual experiences and eager thousands read about them the morning after, it may well be reasonable for law enforcement, in pursuit of terrorists and criminals, to spy with high-powered binoculars through people's bedroom windows or put concealed cameras in public restrooms. In a world where you can listen to people shouting lurid descriptions of their gall-bladder operations into their cell phones, it may well be reasonable to ask telephone companies or even doctors for access to their customer records. If we the people don't consider our own privacy terribly valuable, we cannot count on government -- with its many legitimate worries about law-breaking and security -- to guard it for us.



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