I have sometimes wondered whether the word "privacy" will sound to our grandchildren the way the word "honor" sounds to us.
"There was a time when people thought this was a real thing with immense value, which, once lost, was lost forever, and so they would go to incredible lengths to preserve it. People were weird back then."
posted by escabeche at 3:08 PM on March 4, 2012
The Fourth Amendment doesn't say that the government is NEVER entitled to your information. It just says that it has to have a well-defined reason and that a basic protocol must be followed. (Other parts of the document also point to most of this information ending up public in court, as well.)
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
And then there is the Internet. We seem pretty much at peace, verging on complacent, about the exploitation of our data for commercial, medical and scientific purposes — as trivial as the advertising algorithm that pitches us camping gear because we searched the Web for wilderness travel, as valuable as the digital record-sharing that makes sure all our doctors know what meds we’re on.
The danger, it seems to me, is not surveillance per se. We have already decided, most of us, that life on the grid entails a certain amount of intrusion. Nor is the danger secrecy, which, as Posner notes, “is ubiquitous in a range of uncontroversial settings,” a promise the government makes to protect “taxpayers, inventors, whistle-blowers, informers, hospital patients, foreign diplomats, entrepreneurs, contractors, data suppliers and many others.”
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