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    Right Of Privacy

    Here in America-land, we seem to believe we have a "Right Of Privacy."

    I wonder about that.

    Back in the 1700s, back in the Colonial days, if you were a bit of a poofter, if you drank too much, if you slept around, or if you cheated in business, EVERYBODY in your little town or rural hamlet eventually knew about it.

    Anonymity, it seems, is a relatively recent concept.

    Is a Right Of Privacy actually a rather sinister thing, and would society be better off if we just jettisoned such a thing for the common good?

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    Jettison privacy for the common good? Bah. Humbug.


    Laws of man can be rather subjective as well as a 'common good' it's not always as simple as good or evil, and I'd rather not have someone watch and dictate how I live with their beliefs on what is right or good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    Jettison privacy for the common good? Bah. Humbug.


    Laws of man can be rather subjective as well as a 'common good' it's not always as simple as good or evil, and I'd rather not have someone watch and dictate how I live with their beliefs on what is right or good.
    It's not so much the "dictate" part as the "watch" part:

    Yeah, I eat a bit too much saturated fat; yeah, I drinks a bit; and yeah, I like to (hypothetically) view porn involving women dressed up like horses.

    If I own up to these things and say "what of it?"

    How can anyone really hold it against me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    How can anyone really hold it against me?
    Because it's different from what they like or what they think people should do.

    Do you live under a rock?

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    * * *

    Do you live under a rock?
    Nah! I live on the East Side where Microsoft millionaires probably do far more decadent things with "escorts," hired from The Seattle Stranger, than I'd ever dream of!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    if you slept around...
    Well... Just because everyone knows this one guy used a KFC bucket as a sex toy, doesn't mean everyone needs to know or have the right to know this one guy used a KFC bucket as a sex toy.

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    The right to privacy doesn't really prevent your neighbours from looking, or trying to look, into your house with binoculars. It does protect you from the government breaking down your door. Or at least, it is supposed to protect you from that, but nowadays, there is a growing list of "offenses" (smoking the wrong stuff, growing the wrong stuff in your garden, believing the wrong stuff, being interested in the wrong political groupings, viewing wrong pictures, etc.) that, if you are suspected of committing them, the government may intrude on your privacy anyway.

    Contrary to popular opinion, the purpose of law is not primarily to protect us from criminals and crooks. It is primarily to protect us from the government and law enforcement. As it is, the protection is often inadequate. We'd be in deep trouble if we had no such protection at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    The right to privacy doesn't really prevent your neighbours from looking, or trying to look, into your house with binoculars. It does protect you from the government breaking down your door. Or at least, it is supposed to protect you from that, but nowadays, there is a growing list of "offenses" (smoking the wrong stuff, growing the wrong stuff in your garden, believing the wrong stuff, being interested in the wrong political groupings, viewing wrong pictures, etc.) that, if you are suspected of committing them, the government may intrude on your privacy anyway.

    Contrary to popular opinion, the purpose of law is not primarily to protect us from criminals and crooks. It is primarily to protect us from the government and law enforcement. As it is, the protection is often inadequate. We'd be in deep trouble if we had no such protection at all.
    This is, inherently, an accurate view of the American legal system's view, circa mid 1960s re the early Warren Court.

    However, that view, evolving by way of various "penumbras and emanations" seems to have given way to a full blown right of privacy somehow separate from the hand of government.

    Fer instance, what right does Apple (in relation to their various devices I might employ) have to follow me around like an animal with an ear-tag in my (hypothetical) quest for pony-girl porn?

    But, what should I care? Am I not better off to say "so what?"

    To the Trooper who asks if it's OK to take a look inside my trunk-- is it not a more vigorous and liberating response to say "go ahead and waste your time searching you officious civil-service peon, 'cause you'll find nothing?" (If that is, indeed, the case?)-- rather than to cling to my "rights?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    This is, inherently, an accurate view of the American legal system's view, circa mid 1960s re the early Warren Court.

    However, that view, evolving by way of various "penumbras and emanations" seems to have given way to a full blown right of privacy somehow separate from the hand of government.

    Fer instance, what right does Apple (in relation to their various devices I might employ) have to follow me around like an animal with an ear-tag in my (hypothetical) quest for pony-girl porn?
    As long as Apple does not use the power of the state to prevent me from searching out my favourite (hypothetical) pony-girl porn, I don't mind if they follow me around. They're a private company; I have the right to decide whether to buy any of their devices or software or not.

    But, what should I care? Am I not better off to say "so what?"

    To the Trooper who asks if it's OK to take a look inside my trunk-- is it not a more vigorous and liberating response to say "go ahead and waste your time searching you officious civil-service peon, 'cause you'll find nothing?" (If that is, indeed, the case?)-- rather than to cling to my "rights?"
    Well, ask yourself this: suppose some anonymous private citizen stops your car and requests to take a look in your trunk, would you then also think it is liberating to tell him to go ahead, or would you be more likely to tell him to go jump in a lake? Now why should it make any difference if he's wearing a uniform? What is he looking for in my trunk? What could I possibly have in there that is any of his business?

    I cannot think of all that many scenarios in which a cop has any need whatever to look inside my trunk, except if I live in a country where ever more and more things are illegal.

    They start with the trunk of your car, next they obtain the right to search your home, and before long they have the right to search your bodily orifices - after all, if you have nothing to hide, why should this bother you? And it is after all also all "for the public good" or "in the interest of safety."

    No thanks. I feel perfectly safe and do not need a nanny with a uniform and sidearm to "protect" me by invading my privacy. I also do not need to be "protected" from the things other people do in the privacy of THEIR own homes. As far as I am concerned, my neighbour is most welcome to smoke pot, praise Allah, download kiddie porn and fume and foam against Jews on Facebook, all at the same time. I do not feel any sense of threat from it whatsoever, it is none of my business and I do not need "protection" from it.

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    vineris: the village may be harsh, but the enforcers have to live in it as well. If the folk of our tiny Village know what house the Sheriff lives in, know what car his wife drives, and know where his kids walk to school, and go to the same barber-- it's a lot harder for him to cloak abusive behavior behind "anonymity."

    blogmatix: Apple's probably not the best example-- Google's targeted search algorithms, terms for social networking, and their moving into the phone market probably would make for a mixture that's ripe for "invasion of privacy" somewhere along the line. (The app store's pretty tight-laced-- don't think there's any pony porn there!)

    Point being, in the old days, back in the 20th century, you actually had to go to the seedier side of town, enter a real store in your "village" and interact with a live cashier if you wanted to buy some sort of specialty fetish porn. And, maybe you'd bump into your Sunday School teacher, the sheriff, or your mom or someone. . .

    In a "virtual" world, do you/should you have any more expectation of "privacy?" Like your neighbor example-- in the old days he would probably be railing against the Jews on a soapbox on the sidewalk or sitting in his raincoat watching real children in the park. . .

    Re the Trooper thing: it's pretty common for the authorities here to "politely" over-reach their actual authority on a regular basis. In fact, they're always pretty eager to do it on that "Cops" show. . . dumbasses always let them do the search. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    blogmatix: Apple's probably not the best example-- Google's targeted search algorithms, terms for social networking, and their moving into the phone market probably would make for a mixture that's ripe for "invasion of privacy" somewhere along the line. (The app store's pretty tight-laced-- don't think there's any pony porn there!)
    I have no idea what pony porn even is. Something like this, perhaps?

    Right Of Privacy

    :-)

    Point being, in the old days, back in the 20th century, you actually had to go to the seedier side of town, enter a real store in your "village" and interact with a live cashier if you wanted to buy some sort of specialty fetish porn. And, maybe you'd bump into your Sunday School teacher, the sheriff, or your mom or someone. . .

    In a "virtual" world, do you/should you have any more expectation of "privacy?"
    No, probably not, and I do indeed not really mind all that much if companies use their websites to collect data on me in order to send me tailor-made spam. Same thing if an irate ex-boyfriend or girlfriend posts nude pics of you on the web: there are millions of nude pics on the web, with the result that yours will disappear into anonymity, unless you focus the attention on yourself by raising a stink about it. Wherever people live together, it is inevitable that they will find things out about one another, and short of outright Peeping Tommery I'm not sure we should worry too much about it.

    I do, however, insist on the right to my privacy when it comes to governments. After all, when I notice Tom peeping through the window I can close the curtains. Government agents do not give you that option, at least not unless the law specifies it, which is why we need the law (or alternatively, to abolish the police force.)

    Like your neighbor example-- in the old days he would probably be railing against the Jews on a soapbox on the sidewalk or sitting in his raincoat watching real children in the park. . .
    In the old days, society wasn't so paranoid that anyone would even notice him. Nowadays they would, and I have now heard of numerous cases in which solitary men have, at the instigation of paranoid parents, been asked by the friendly neighbourhood cop to leave the park, even when the men in question were there first. But that is perhaps another debate altogether.

    Re the Trooper thing: it's pretty common for the authorities here to "politely" over-reach their actual authority on a regular basis. In fact, they're always pretty eager to do it on that "Cops" show. . . dumbasses always let them do the search. . .
    Here it is not all that unusual for cops to brutally assault people, and indeed more people now die in police custody than did under apartheid. This despite very strict laws against such actions by the police. One can only imagine how it would go in the absence of any such laws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    ... but nowadays, there is a growing list of "offenses" ...
    Including being female.

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    Problem is I don't see one happening without the other, at least not in our society.
    When you watch your doing it to enforce something and those with power abuse it at some point. The common good is determined by who forges the laws, their intended purpose and what becomes of the system put into place. But it can also warp over time. As dystopian as that sounds lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    Problem is I don't see one happening without the other, at least not in our society.
    When you watch your doing it to enforce something and those with power abuse it at some point. The common good is determined by who forges the laws, their intended purpose and what becomes of the system put into place. But it can also warp over time. As dystopian as that sounds lol.
    Too a large extent, as important as the hand of government may be in such issues, I'm thinking more along the lines of corporations and "communities," whatever that may pass for nowadays.

    For instance, "the Government" has my Social Security Number. Big deal, so what, it's an identifier to collect taxes from me. It's only when private entities started demanding this "unique identifier," that it became a thing subject to "privacy" and Identity Theft.

    In a more perfect world, why would it be private? I should be able to write it with my name, inside my books, in case they're lost, with no worries. What's a malefactor to do? Pay my taxes? (If, in fact, that's the only thing the blinkin' number is good for).

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    If someone doesn't want to be private, that's cool. I agree that one can't stop people from poking or prying, from rubbernecking. So rather than an inherent right to privacy, I'd settle for the freedom to maintain privacy or anonymity. If the government wants ISPs to start monitoring and policing their traffic, then I want the freedom to encrypt my personal traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    If someone doesn't want to be private, that's cool. I agree that one can't stop people from poking or prying, from rubbernecking. So rather than an inherent right to privacy, I'd settle for the freedom to maintain privacy or anonymity. If the government wants ISPs to start monitoring and policing their traffic, then I want the freedom to encrypt my personal traffic.
    Well, I'll go back to my, more-or-less, hypothetical colonial village-- what is it that you have to hide?

    And, the predicate idea/question: do you really have a "right" to hide whatever it is.

    And, couldn't it be that whatever it is isn't really so awful or vital? And, your "freedom" would be better protected by "laying everything on the table?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    Well, I'll go back to my, more-or-less, hypothetical colonial village-- what is it that you have to hide?

    And, the predicate idea/question: do you really have a "right" to hide whatever it is.

    And, couldn't it be that whatever it is isn't really so awful or vital? And, your "freedom" would be better protected by "laying everything on the table?"
    My right to not disclose everything, involuntarily, stems from by ability to do so. If I work hard, if I educate myself and if I maintain technical superiority over those who want to snoop, then I win. And the freedom to have that ability is what gives me the right to privacy.

    Privacy isn't an issue of content. Terrorist cells still have privacy. Which is where we're ultimately getting at here. What do criminals have to hide? Wouldn't society be better if everyone just laid their cards on the table so we can round up the bad guys.

    Nope. Rights don't exist to protect bad guys. Due process doesn't exist to keep people in courts for years on end. That's not saying it doesn't happen or that people don't exploit the system. These things are in place to protect everyone from tyranny and institutional oppression.

    Privacy, or the ability to hide yo shit, protects normal people from those things. Whether it's a collection of banned books or anti-government literature or pornography or credit card numbers or those sex drawings everyone here does and never shows anyone because they're embarrassing and you hide that one sketchbook in the back of your closet so your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't casually flip through it.

    To the Trooper who asks if it's OK to take a look inside my trunk-- is it not a more vigorous and liberating response to say "go ahead and waste your time searching you officious civil-service peon, 'cause you'll find nothing?" (If that is, indeed, the case?)-- rather than to cling to my "rights?"
    No because it sets a precedent. The whole point of looking in your trunk is supposed to be reasonable suspicion. The whole point of that caveat is to help stop unreasonable search and seizure. Which is a constitutional right, not something that popped up in the last couple of decades. Considering the people who wrote the constitution were only barely separated from monarchies that could and would regularly take yo shit because they could, I say that's a pretty good right to maintain. And if I let every statey, as we call them in the south, search my trunk for no reason, then all that goes out the window. Might as well repeal the right and just set up road blocks and let them search every trunk.

    Last edited by s.ketch; March 29th, 2012 at 09:39 AM.
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    OK, let me try to pull this away from the purely law enforcement direction and more towards Kev's "petty tyrannies."

    My initial musing leading to this thread was a comment by a friend to the extent that "kids today seem really quick to sacrifice personal privacy on-line nowadays." This, coupled with the idea that some entities like Google and Face Book have been caught mining personal info and have pretty much, in Google's case, basically said "so what."

    JFierce would say then we can "take it or leave it." But, what if were already invested?

    For instance, a new trend involves corporate HR people demanding social networking and email passwords(!) as a condition of evaluation/ employment. Is this like the trooper's "nice try" attempt to get you to reveal something you don't have to? Or do they have you over a barrel? No PW, no job.

    The corporation is not the government. If you refuse and they turn you away-- have your "privacy rights" been violated. Do you even really have such rights? What if you're already employed and they hit you with this PW request for continued employment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    For instance, a new trend involves corporate HR people demanding social networking and email passwords(!) as a condition of evaluation/ employment. Is this like the trooper's "nice try" attempt to get you to reveal something you don't have to? Or do they have you over a barrel? No PW, no job.

    The corporation is not the government. If you refuse and they turn you away-- have your "privacy rights" been violated. Do you even really have such rights? What if you're already employed and they hit you with this PW request for continued employment?
    Pushback:http://arstechnica.com/business/news...-passwords.ars


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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    For instance, a new trend involves corporate HR people demanding social networking and email passwords(!) as a condition of evaluation/ employment. Is this like the trooper's "nice try" attempt to get you to reveal something you don't have to? Or do they have you over a barrel? No PW, no job.
    More that, it's asking you to violate the legal contract you signed with the social networking website or e-mail provider. Most large websites include account sharing in their ToS -- as in, you agree to not share your account and password with anyone else, so that they can blame you for whatever bad stuff you do with your account. If you get caught, at best your account will be limited or shut down. At worst you or the corporation may be charged with unauthorized access of a network or hacking.

    So the first thing I'd probably ask HR is "why do you want me to help you commit a potentially criminal act in order to work here?" Depending on how they respond and how big they are and whether I care about the job, the next thing I ask might be "do you want me to tell Google/Facebook that you are doing this?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post

    Back in the 1700s, back in the Colonial days, if you were a bit of a poofter, if you drank too much, if you slept around, or if you cheated in business, EVERYBODY in your little town or rural hamlet eventually knew about it.
    Because you'd be put in the stocks, or dunked, or publicly flogged, or branded, or forced to wear a (literal) scarlet letter. Is that what you're advocating?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Because you'd be put in the stocks, or dunked, or publicly flogged, or branded, or forced to wear a (literal) scarlet letter. Is that what you're advocating?
    Nah, my analogies are flawed in that, excepting business fraud, nowadays, those other things are legal. But, the point I'm aiming at is this-- the nature of the initial society, from which this "right" eventually evolved, would have viewed a right of privacy (as we think of it) as an absurdity given the nature of communal society.

    Currently, advances in communication are starting, I think, to reconnect us BACK to a more communal level where people are, more than they have been for a long time, starting to lose the level of anonymity they once had.

    Perhaps this is to be embraced, rather than to be resisted?

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    Anyway, KP, you wouldn't think privacy was unimportant if you were a girl on the Internet. Some of my friends seem to attract stalkers like I attract lint. You say one thing about your underwear or nose-picking habits or something on the net and next thing you know some 250 lb. ex-convict from across town is sitting your bushes convinced that you're soul mates.

    No thanks. Privacy is awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post


    Anyway, KP, you wouldn't think privacy was unimportant if you were a girl on the Internet. Some of my friends seem to attract stalkers like I attract lint. You say one thing about your underwear or nose-picking habits or something on the net and next thing you know some 250 lb. ex-convict from across town is sitting your bushes convinced that you're soul mates.

    No thanks. Privacy is awesome.

    But, in my Hypothetical Colonial Village, the rain falls on the girls as it falls on the stalkers-- the Village knows the business of the stalkers as surely as it knows your down sitting, your up standing and your nose picking.

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  30. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    But, in my Hypothetical Colonial Village, the rain falls on the girls as it falls on the stalkers-- the Village knows the business of the stalkers as surely as it knows your down sitting, your up standing and your nose picking.
    What if the Village thinks you and Mr. Convict would make a cute couple and anyway if you didn't want him out there what did you pick your nose for?

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    I expect total privacy in only ONE place - my bedroom (or the bathroom in my house). Otherwise, I always assume at least one other person can hear or see me. Even though it's not always true, but still.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

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    The main counterpoint to 'nothing to hide' is the inherent assumption that privacy is about hiding skeletons in the closet. That you did something wrong. There's plenty of counter points out there but I still go with the above that just because somethings a law, or what others view in a certain light doesn't make it right or wrong. I know people that smoke weed, is it wrong in the eyes of the law? Yup. Is it wrong in the eyes of the people? Can guarantee not a majority of them. But that's as far as Government and the difference between laws being truly right or wrong.

    But either way communal wise. Privacy protects people from this 'communal' judgment and gives people a sense of self, the ability to hold their own beliefs and actions without being put on a damn trial for not going along with the 'communities' beliefs.

    I could be in the bible belt and have a 50 person orgy. There would be secondary effects of having every bible thumper knocking on my door telling me how to live. I'm not doing anything wrong in my eyes or the other 50 people but people would sure as hell want to give me a public flogging in Elwells words. (Though in all reality if it's a little town setting they probably would find out just like in the hypothetical village)

    Societies finally cast off these feelings that to live in a society we all have to hold similar values. Nowadays I can say mind your own fucking business. While back in our hypothetical village, more flogging.

    As for something corporate (heh, old band I remembered typing that accidentally) like Apple, you sign on to the terms, you don't have to use the product. Can't be monitored through the phone or whatever if you don't have a smart phone that does it. Can't have people stalk you on Facebook if you don't have one. Or you don't have to accept an application ON facebook that steals your private info unless you use it. If you think they'll do something harmful you can object and not use the service, it's different because you still have your right to privacy and also the right to give up some of it to use their products.

    Last edited by JFierce; March 29th, 2012 at 01:03 AM.
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    Most human beings are mediocre, irrational, poorly educated, and want things their own way.

    Spare me from other people's wants... From other people's emotions... From other people's false consciousness... And from other people's stupidities. (I've got my own, thanks.)

    We must guard against petty tyrannies at every turn, remembering that given power beyond his person, every man is potentially a petty tyrant, ready to impose (by design or accident) his wants, emotions, beliefs, and stupidities on others at a moment's notice.

    For every gathering of men in agreement, the problem is compounded by their political power or their market power. This goes for governments, government agencies, businesses, unions, town boards, buffalo lodges, social movements, small towns, cliques in high school, online fora, the art world, and any other gathering place of self-interested monkeys hard-wired to play king of the hill.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Time to find a new job.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.ketch View Post
    Time to find a new job.
    Easy to say!

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