#Privacy and #Rights

Recently I received a message from a friend criticizing my decision to #DeleteFacebook . I did because of their intentional information leak to Cambridge Analytica and generally their bad behavior. Please note that I said “information” rather than “data.” Losing private data sounds a bit like forgetting to save a spreadsheet, having personal information given to a third party without your permission is much more serious.

My friend said “If you have nothing to hide, lack of privacy and what Facebook did isn’t a big deal.” That position is ludicrous. To say that privacy isn’t needed because I have nothing to hide is like saying freedom of speech isn’t needed because I have nothing to say or unreasonable search and seizure of property is okay because I don’t have very much that is valuable.

All rights have (or should have) reasonable limits. Just because one has free speech doesn’t mean that they can defame someone else by libel or slander; just because one owns a hunting rifle doesn’t mean they automatically have a right to own an assault rifle (rocker propelled grenade launcher or tank); and privacy has its limits. We must undergo inspection if we want to fly commercially or attend a pro football game. We have sacrificed part of our privacy for the common good. That doesn’t mean we have already sacrificed all of our privacy. Limiting rights is not the same as forfeiting them.

Privacy is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. You may ask where is it explicitly guaranteed? Well nowhere. However, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the first, fourth, fifth, ninth and fourteenth amendments severally and jointly guarantee that right. The Supreme Court is the absolute authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, not the intelligence services, not the Congress nor the President or the Administration.

So even if you have nothing to hide, strive to protect privacy; even if you aren’t religious, work for freedom of (and from) religion; even if you have nothing to say, support freedom of speech.

A docile citizenry giving up their rights and the silencing or mocking of a free press are always the first steps to dictatorship and tyranny.

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