-11 votes

Is Privacy What We Really Want?

Are we really fighting so many battles for the right to keep stuff in our lives private? Is it possible that what we really want instead is for that stuff to not be used against us?

When I look at what is being fought to keep private and ask myself if I really care about others knowing that information, I often struggle to justify 'why' it should be secret. I really don't care if someone else know if I catch a bug and go to the doctor for an antibiotic prescription. I really don't much care if others know my social security number. I don't even care if they know what I make or have left. I don't even care if my location, habits and possessions are all tracked. I personally tend to think that someone wishing to find out this information really needs a life because they have too much time on their hands. All these things are the primary knowledge gained by a breech in that privacy.

What I do care about is the secondary aspect of this knowledge. I don't want my bank account robbed and as such, I have been trained to think that keeping it secret is the only way to keep it safe.

What I do care about is that other nefarious people don't steal my identity (a real oxymoron in this group) and make charges that I'm later forced to pay.

In other words, I care that knowledge of this information could allow or aid others to use that information against me.

In the case of the state, I see hundreds of examples of info that people wish to safeguard from the government knowing. It's become all too easy to find examples where the state has used it for oppression. Looking at that from the outside, it just seems crazy and tiring to live in a world where we allow those oppressive rules to pile up as we fight them back with the single tool we haven't lost yet - privacy. When I look at each fear behind the battle, I usually come to one conclusion...

They have something to hide. We hear this response all the time but do we actually listen to its ramifications? I'm not advocating we compromise on any privacy but I am set on finding the real evils that are lurking in society (public and private) which should be addressed.

So is this the real question we should be asking? Beginning in the case of the state, is it possible that there are simply too many infractions and costs of following the law? If the law was genuinely in support of what We The People agreed it should be, would we really be trying to hide our actions to get away with stuff?

What would our discussions be like if the government did have a national database of our info and real-time whereabouts but it could only be used to bring criminals to justice who actually harmed a victim? It sounds far fetched to imagine that situation existing but we may learn a great deal about eliminating these battles if we at least discuss it.

How about we have a discussion on what infractions are causing this? Why don't we take a hard look and see if there would remain any reasons to care about privacy (other than it being our right to choose) if the various laws were changed so that we weren't criminalized at every turn.

I'm sure we're going to end this discussion sticking to our demands that it is our right as enshrined by The 4th but maybe along the way, we can find other things that are the root problem to go after instead of fighting privacy for that reason alone.

What does the group think about this? Take a situation, state a privacy issue around it, state the secondary reason we wish to avoid and suggest some alternatives. I think it'll be a great exercise in learning what a truly free market society means.

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Privacy is

Freedom. Freedom is Liberty. I was born with in possession of my liberty.


Pink Floyd answers your question best:

"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!"

"If you have nothing to hide, you can't have any privacy! Why would you need privacy if you have nothing to hide?"

Your question is illogical.

Pink Floyd indeed

Rather than interpreting it as your last quote does, I prefer this.

"If you don't reduce the incentive to steal your info, you'll be battling privacy issues much more than you can afford to."

Another relevant Floyd quote:

"Did you trade your walk-on part in the war,
for a lead role in a cage?"

jrd3820's picture

Ha! Thanks for making me laugh.

That was great.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss


I like that you are trying to look at the issue a little deeper. "why do you care if you don't have anything to hide" is one of the toughest questions. Most people that ask it aren't receptive when you explain the nefarious reality that is government, so to be able to explain it in a different way may sometimes be helpful.

But I do think you are brushing over that the government is a nefarious organization that wants this information to enslave you. And when that is the reality, I also understand where the down votes are coming from. For example, you say:

"What would our discussions be like if the government did have a national database of our info and real-time whereabouts but it could only be used to bring criminals to justice who actually harmed a victim? It sounds far fetched to imagine that situation existing but we may learn a great deal about eliminating these battles if we at least discuss it."

We cannot pretend like a totalitarian solution might work, when we know it won't. It's like saying "what if we had a god like king with total power, but he only used the power for good? Sounds far fetched, but why don't we discuss it"... Well, we don't discuss it for the same reasons we don't talk about pigs flying.

Never trust the government! ...or pigs

Regarding the nefarious-ness of the government, that's a given so why discuss it. I admit it and then moved on.

In the suggestion of the database, I used a hypothetical that didn't say the government was good but rather that government was limited. In other words, if WE held the keys to that database and they had to justify why they wanted x or y piece of info and then WE reviewed their reasons before ANYONE peeked. That's not a totalitarian solution because it's removing the government from the power category.

And the reason this could possibly work is the same as the reason we might be able to remove or at least lessen the government "wanting this information to enslave you".

That reason is to remove the incentive. There are probably a thousand ways we can take the 'profit' out of lobbying, corporate snuggling, political bribes and all other related acts. I don't know them all and I doubt others do either but together, maybe we can list enough so that some bright mind can find a common denominator. If that was the case, might we venture a little effort behind such a cause?

the common denominator is force

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." - George Washington

The lobbying, corporate snuggling and political bribes are a reality because they work. Politicians have the ability (through their monopoly on force) to doll out special privileges. They can pick winners and losers. They can bail out their interests. What the special interests profit from, what they are lobbying for, is the borrowed use of the governments perceived authority to initiate force to fund or carry out whatever program, regulation, or law that said special interest wants.

As for the database, who exactly is WE? and how are we going to prevent WE from abusing their power?

Now you're asking the right questions

Who is WE? We are those who have an interest in seeing it work the right way and we should be in full open view of all details regarding the decision to allow or not allow someone's privacy to be invaded.

As for lobbying, yes, remove the power from congress to use force. I'm not sure how, but I would suggest the place to start might be to work toward the path of no federal government being allowed to make specific regulations. For example, Monsanto uses the FDA to gain power. What if the FDA was made of 2 food experts in each state? What if those 2 people were non-industry insiders, non-lawyers, non-politicians, signed binding ethics agreements (that held jailtime as punishment) and were mandated to publish live video of ALL work related interactions instantly? Maybe those two people would even be required to spend 20 hours per week in a public town hall (in person or online)? Sounds a bit extreme, but compared to what we have now, I think it's both cheaper and better. Might even be easy to do if the people got too fed up with the current nomination process that's turning south. I'm thinking that would end most regulatory monopolies pretty quick.

privacy is a thing of the

privacy is a thing of the past.
The internet will usher in a new era and this era will include truth, your deepest darkest secrets and everything will become transparent.
Just watch.
It will not be possible to hide the truth very soon.
nothing will be private.

"OH NO! He has a SON?" Neoconservatives and Liberals EVERYWHERE!

Rand Paul 2016

"What does the group think about this?"

Collectivism... shows up everywhere

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

What is collectivist

about people wanting to discuss ways to eliminate the incentives attracting people to steal your info?

Knowledge is Power

Privacy because THEY have the information, and YOU cannot.

When we can be free of the legal and social consequences that come along with information, then we won't need privacy. But information is linked to power.

This is true

Please read the comments because your assumption (that we can't be free from those consequences that come along with information) might not stand for long.

Note, however, that by eliminating those consequences and freeing up our need for privacy we are not eliminating our right to still keep private. That will never go away unless we get sold to the NWO.

I don't trust the government

I don't trust the government to make that call on whether my personal information is "usable" legally. The problem is that's what we already have, and their unanimous decision is always that it's pretty much ok to use any info they get ahold of for anything.

Please read deeper.

That's not in question here.

Regarding privacy and health care ...

... before Medicare came into existence in 1965, health care was inexpensive, health insurance was readily available and paid for by the individual (mostly), doctors made house calls, and there were free clinics for poor people.

In addition, people were getting healthier. But that all changed, not because there was a need by the doctors or the patients, but because POLITICIANS wanted "something to do" to "socially engineer society."

It got worse with the passage of the HMO Act in 1973, which mandated large employers to offer health insurance to employees.

As the government has gotten more and more involved in health care, privacy has become less and less. Today, we are on the verge of a complete loss of privacy in health care ... BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING OVER.

The solution? Get the government OUT of health care.

THAT is the solution. You cannot reform government to act better. You cannot get "the right people" in office. The BEST you can do is REDUCE THEIR POWER.

THAT is what the American experiment is all about.

And now ...

... I gotta go watch some football.


When healthcare started to become managed is when all our problems began. I don't include privacy in that list because I think privacy is over-mandated by HIPPA now, to the point that it's counter productive. (I have 6 kids which are all adults and the hoops to just visit them in the hospital or pick up a prescription for them are astounding. My retired-nurse fiance got out of the business because of the massive chain of paperwork that had to be done because this info can't reside on the same page as that info. Insane but I digress.

Either way, the issue is government intervention giving a monopoly to a few select companies. (Or some variant of that)

How to get government out of it? How about we create a better insurance company among ourselves, keep it private and enforce it to do exactly what we want for what we want to pay? Did you know that totaling all your insurance benefits (medical, life, death, auto, home, pet, etc.) together for the average lifetime, it comes to around $32k? Let's put $35-40k each in a pool with 10M other people (to allow averages to work) and then live with zero insurance cost. Would that take off if it worked? If so, (AND THE DEMOCRATS ADMITTED IT) how long before the people turned against ObamaCare en masse? Not long, I submit.

So, a private solution that wasn't involved in any way with the government solved a government problem by offering a better solution. Isn't that called the free market?

You keep ignoring the issue

Sure, you could set up some private solution to health care. I'm all for it.

BUT ...

You should damn well know that there are a@@hole politicians and their cronies who have nothing better to do with their time than to think up ways to make what you want to do difficult or illegal.


We must INSIST on freedom, privacy, etc. The solution is to INSIST that the government get OUT of health care.

The debate must be at the FUNDAMENTAL CORE level, and not so much tinkering around the edges of what to do within a corrupt system. Let's GET RID OF the corrupt system itself.

I'm on your side if you want to do BOTH at the same time -- try to develop free alternatives for now while also advocating ending government in health care. But the REAL POWERFUL argument is to end government health care.

Anyway, I've said all I can or want to say on this. If you come up with a great alternative, more power to you. Good luck.

What i want, is the choice

What i want, is the choice of privacy, if you look at it that way, if you want to use certain services for instance, you have no choice.

New methods are called for, and deserved debating by those who implement those systems and the public

So many reasons.The first

So many reasons.

The first reason is that you are not free while you are being watched. Your behavior alters because subconciously you know you have no privacy.

When governments go tyranical, they pass ridiculous laws, such as making it illegal to photoshop pictures of the glorious leader, or say bad things about your government. The more information they have collected and archived about you, the easier it is for them to find you guilty of breaking one of their stupid fucking laws. This is a tool for tyrants to "disapear" political enemies and rabble rousers.

You may be one of these idiots who says: "But IM not doing anything wrong, what do I care!?" Because sooner or later, as the noose of tyrany tightens, something you like to do will "become" a crime. In the end in a totlitarian state, EVERYONE is guilty of something... so add the horrors of total surveilance to this, and that means the government has the absolute power to destroy anyone at any time. Congradulations, you now live in a society where the people are terrified of their government.

You may recall that old quote: "First they came for the jews, but I was not a jew so I did nothing... etc etc."

But lets say that your the sort of spinless boot licking yes man who doesn't even break laws in a totlitarian state. Well then you probably deserve a noose, because you have condoned without protetest some pretty horrible shit by this point. When laws become lawless, id rather be an outlaw.

Like most things in our Constitution, the right to privacy was designed as a roadblock to the most horrific of calamities humanity can inflict on ourselves. Tyrannical government. Nothing kills more. Nothing takes more. Nothing has more potential for ending this species. Every year, 1984 looks more and more plausable.

Cyril's picture

In support of Von's comment below:

In support of Von's comment below:


is relevant and informative.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

The Big Picture (ie. the Plan):

All this data on every individual is waiting to be datamined for them to use against us after declaration of martial law.

That is the primary reason for the expanding surveillance.

"I've done nothing wrong, so why should I care" <--- this becomes meaningless when they've decided to make almost anything you could possibly doing "wrong" - ie. a 'criminal' act.

The noose will continue to quietly and consistently tighten until the SHTF - most likely scenario? The currency collapse.

Martial Law will be declared. Constitutional protections will be formally suspended. Illegal executive orders signed by successive presidents will go into effect (Rex 84 - etc etc etc)

Then - "for public safety" - they will further criminalize all sorts of ordinary behavior.

Then they will :

- ramp up the datamining operations on the population to flag those individuals and groups that the perceive to be any kind of potential threat .. which will be just about everyone.

- then, they will use those 'laws' to justify pulling you out of line, or raiding your home, or otherwise REMOVE you as a threat.

This is the plan. Bank on it (pun intended)

Yes, and what are we doing about it?

Not one damn thing. We spread the news about what new tyranny is taking place today and who said what about it. Looking through the active articles on this site, I can go for pages and pages before I get to one where a solution is even referred to. Just gossip on what is wrong, not ideas on how to fix. Nowhere do I see any action taking place to thwart it from expanding.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying there's no one saying to stop it. I'm saying there's no actual steps being discussed on how to stop it. It's almost like a bunch of lemmings arguing (out of breath because they're running so hard towards the cliff) that they really hate being lemmings and following the crowd. To watch from the outside, you'd just want to say, "then stop running - that was easy."

But no one is saying a thing. I've been asking the question all day long today and not one person has offered a specific solution (other than we need to stop this problem) on how to fix one problem. I've even offered 2 or 3 potential solutions of my own and people just argue how impossible they are to accomplish and how we shouldn't even try. I'm even being called a virtual NAZI by Paul_S below because he thinks I'm wanting to eliminate privacy. And to top it off the negative votes keep piling up. I swear it's the lemming thing all the way.


The more information the government keeps on one the harder for that one to keep government in check plain and simple.


Sory double post.

Stuff Not to be Used Against Us

One of the things I like about engineers as a collective group, is they make me think. If it weren't for men and women who question and explore the world around us we would all still be living in caves.

Privacy, what is it? A definition that I embrace is; "the state of being free from unsanctioned intrusion."

When I have information about my person or possessions that I choose to share with others I permit its release by communicating through various direct and indirect channels (e.g., speaking, writing, participating in peaceable assembly, voting, etc.).

Certain knowledge I consider confidential and not to be shared I withhold from the public domain because it one of my many natural rights to do so. For example, I may choose to divulge the number of persons domiciled with me who are of a particular age or I may not, as is often asked by census takers.

Would I withhold that information about age because I fear the government could use it against me? Yes, given the history of the central government that continually abuses its unconstitutional authority to usurp my freedoms and liberties. I do not trust the federal government and the growing fascist relationship it has with global corporatism. I am always weary of some social welfare or crime prevention program it attempts to sell to the public.

For me, privacy is one small way to passively stand up to the government and say no; I deny that information to you because inevitably some unelected bureaucrat will devise a sophistic plot and proselytize it as a 'benefit' to the people.

The nature of government is corruptible power which can only occur with the consent of the people. I refuse to submit to it's demands.

Agree with all you said, with the addition of one word

In your last paragraph, you state,

"The nature of government is corruptible power..."
and I would like to change that to
"The historical nature of government is corruptible power..."

In other words, I want to investigate ways to stop this. If you read my comment below ( http://www.dailypaul.com/273014/is-privacy-what-we-really-wa... ), you'll see better where I'm headed.

There ARE many ways we can put a halt to the incentives for people to benefit from our personal information and by stopping those incentives, we BOTH lessen the number of battles we must fight AND keep our right to choose what/how we want to keep private.

It's those ideas that I'm trying to get a discussion going on.

Isn't Step B the Root Problem, Not J?

Step B (bad people create ways they can benefit from stealing info.) as you identified has been around since man has existed on this planet; it is not a recent phenomenon. Case in point would be stealing the details of a birth record to reveal a person's ethnicity to commit an act of blackmail. Man will always be tempted to steal from others to gain financial acquisition or power.

It is analogous to the problem of squaring a circle using only a straightedge and compass; it can't be done so I've read (see: http://www.cut-the-knot.org/impossible/sq_circle.shtml ).

You cannot change a basic tenet of human nature to take what is not freely and knowingly given using a 'straightedge and compass' solution. As electronic technology centralizes the storage and retrieval of personal information the greater the enticement to obtain that information for nefarious purposes, especially when the government is involved. That's why the need to protect sensitive information will only increase.

Yes, B is the problem but we only worry about J

I don't see any discussion on how to fix B (aka-the incentives that attract the bad behavior) anywhere. All I see is articles on how bad F and G are plus complaints on J taking place. Then toss in the occasional article and cheering on E.

You seem to be equating tackling B to squaring a circle. I haven't been exposed to that geometric problem so like many of today's issues I can't begin to suggest a solution. However, if you look at the other problem mentioned on that page, trisecting an angle, you'll find two solutions to previously unsolvable problems. Careful investigation shows that neither of those solutions is truly solvable with a ruler and compass. Luckily, this is your lucky day. I personally received this problem in lieu of 2nd semester 10th grade geometry and solved it 15 years later. It definitely can be done with only a ruler and compass and I verified this to 11 digits of accuracy in CAD at the time.

Bragging aside, my point is that no matter how hard a problem seems, it will never get solved if we don't try. If we do, we may find partial solutions and then have to wait for a real one. Either way, it's worth beginning.

Is it time to start chasing some of those specific solutions? I say definitely yes. I began with the frustration of Perot being scared out of the election at his daughter's wedding. Some friends and I came up with a near perfect way to hold politicians accountable and instantly expose all that they do. With the advent of the most current internet tools, the rest has just became very easy to do. With this knowledge what do you think I have been able to accomplish?

Would you believe nothing? The reason is that I can't get a single person to believe it's possible enough to even hear it out. Not one friend (family has but holds no more assistance than I do), not one business, not one liberty minded person, not even one web developer (who could profit tremendously from it). So, I just keep taunting libertarian minded people to find that person who might help until I can afford to do it myself.

This may be a solution to more than one problem but I still ask how many other areas is there a solution just sitting around waiting to put the right two people together to kick it off?


I see that Detroit Edison is in on the Smart Meter Scam.

Under the Patriot act you can be targeted by government for you energy usage.

I reserve my right to privacy.

Over Two-hundred a twenty years privacy has been an unquestioned right.

How much do you paid to spread propaganda supporting the smart meter scam?

Free includes debt-free!