Privacy makes strides online.
January 9, 2001 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Privacy makes strides online. I'm actually pretty amazed by the ruling - while I think this is a great thing, could it be used for evil?
posted by rich (3 comments total)
What do they mean a 'private site'? Was it to be only accessed with a login and password?
posted by tiaka at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2001

If the ruling was put into rigid binder with sharp points, which was then used to club someone over the head...then yes, this ruling could be used for evil.

"A Hawaiian Airlines vice president used another pilot's name to enter the site more than 20 times..."
I assume that since access to the site was restricted by a login, and I can only assume a password, that the information contained within would be considered private. So the airline's use of a pilot's name and password to access the site would constitute an invasion of privacy. Especially since they most likely exactly who the owner of the site wanted to prevent from getting access in the first place.
posted by rorschach at 9:06 AM on January 9, 2001

could it be used for evil?

The whole point of rights (like the right to privacy or free speech) is that they allow you to do something even though it may be used to harm or do anything else that is normally banned. There is no need for rights that let you do things that are not banned because you can do them anyway!

In other words, rights are for things so important that they are worth the risk (even if likely or guaranteed to happen) that they will be misused by some.

There's an excellent quote by Joseph Raz:
It may be thought surprising that one should have a right to do that which one ought not.

Is it not better to confine rights to that which it is right or at least permissible to do?

But to say this is to misunderstand the nature of rights. One needs no right to be entitled to do the right thing. That it is right gives one all the title one needs. But one needs a right to be entitled to do that which one should not. It is an essential element of rights to action that they entitle one to do that which one should not. To say this is not, of course, to say that the purpose of rights of action is to increase wrong-doing. Their purpose is to develop and protect the autonomy of the agent. They entitle him to choose for himself rightly or wrongly.

But they cannot do that unless they entitle him to choose wrongly.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:49 AM on January 9, 2001

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