Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Privacy

Here is why intruding on my privacy, and the privacy of millions of other people living in America, is wrong on its face: it is not that I have something to hide--it's that I have everything to lose.

And when the intruder is the State, with its ominous, full-on power to destroy any individual by accident or intent (because as said destroyed individual will tell you, the results are the same), that which an individual has to lose can be significant, and the results of his having lost it, life-altering.

The notion of "innocent until proven guilty" underpins our jurisprudence for a good reason. The burden of proof is not, and should never be, on me: I should not have to prove a negative, that I am not something bad, that I'm not doing something bad. I simply am. I exist.

Thus, if I am suspected of wrongdoing, well, prove it in court. Prove it in accordance with the laws that, however imperfect, have managed to convict and imprison serial killers, armed robbers, and terrorists alike (at least they did until the Patriot Act afforded the State an easy, lazy way to do an end-run around the Constitution).  But if I am simply existing, minding my own business, communicating with my family, friends, and business associates, the State should have no right to monitor my words--not the time when, or location where, they were written or spoken; not the frequency with which some recipients (as opposed to others) crop up on some concocted list of my associates; and certainly not the words themselves.

That is--or rather, was--the point of having warrants: to protect those who are merely existing from intrusion into their private, personal lives by the State. By setting forth very specific requirements, most saliently probable cause, that must be met before allowing intrusive evidence-gathering that disrupts an individual's security and privacy.

Proper warrants, too, not bullshit rubberstamped-anytime-anyplace-totally-unspecific-to-any-one-crime-applicable-to-countless-millions-of-citizens-FISA-warrants that are issued in secret.

The only reason all this is happening is this: we're allowing it.

The existence of secret courts with secret rulings--much like secret police--does not bode well for the health of our democracy. And when the death rattle kicks in, we will not be able to blame the terrorists. The government is us.  We are the ones who harvested, processed, and swallowed our own hemlock, because someone, somewhere, convinced us that the potion would protect us from all evil, and damn if he didn't make a pretty penny in so doing.


  1. "The existence of secret courts with secret rulings--much like secret police--does not bode well for the health of our democracy."

    Of course. But again, all the know-nothings out there will just scream, "Hyperbole! Exaggeration! Lunatic!"

    They don't get it. The only police state they understand is the one where you're dragged away in the middle of the night (which, frankly, is already happening). They refuse to acknowledge the warning signs and resist BEFORE things get to that point. Because obviously, by then it's too late.

    Though truth be told, this is simply our chickens coming home to roost. We've treated other people this way in foreign lands for far too long. It's only right (and predictable) that we're now visiting these injustices on ourselves.

  2. This article is mind blowing I read it and enjoyed. I always find this type of article to learn and gather

    non fiction publicist

  3. I like your blog. Perhaps you might like mine, I have a lot of similar beefs and bitches.
    Perhaps the title of my blog is too long! Cheers!