-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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How many times do I have to say the same exact thing?

I can't believe that no one can grasp this concept.

Here's the nutshell version.

WE HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY, period, point blank, end of discussion, no questions allowed, no wiggle room, not a word.


We need a discussion on eliminating the incentives which attract people to want to steal our info.

Is that better? It's the same argument as with immigration. Some say build a secure fence. Others say tear it down. Both have costs and downsides. I'm saying that WHILE THAT DISCUSSION IS TAKING PLACE (aka leave the 4th in place) let's make it hard for foreigners to profit so heavily at working here. In other words, let's remove the incentives that attract so many Mexicans from down south.

That may mean making it impossible to pay an illegal worker or to house one or it may even mean that we find a way to fix Mexico's economy so they'll have incentive to stay. I don't know what the solution is but I know it's worth discussing. Don't you?

Now I understand you better ...

... and let's take your two examples because I think it is instructive.

In the case of Mexicans crossing the boarder, let's set aside the issue of freedom of travel as a human right, and just focus on what causes them to cross borders and risk a lot.

First, you will find that it is not the white-skinned Mexicans who cross illegally. Go to the mall just across the border in San Diego county and you will see plenty of white Mexicans shopping for the day. They come and go just like we do. It is the dark-skinned Mexicans who come across illegally because the racist Mexican government will not give them passports.

The reasons they come are many, but primarily it is either to work, to suck off welfare, or to be criminals. Most come to work, either directly or to join with family.

The key to reducing the crossings is to reduce the welfare magnet, as well as government-funded schools. The takers and the criminals are the ones we don't want here.

I am against building a wall for the same reason I am opposed to the Berlin Wall.

You might agree or disagree with what I wrote about immigration, but regardless, it is a fundamentally DIFFERENT discussion than the issue of privacy.

To ask what can be done to reduce a desire to invade privacy is the same thing as asking what can be done to stop people from wanting to control others or to steal from others. We can try to build a more respectful and liberty-oriented culture, but there will ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET ONE OVER ON OTHERS.

And THAT is why the right of privacy must be defended IN ITS OWN RIGHT. Fundamentally, it is a different type of debate than "What to do about illegal immigration?"

I am all for going AROUND those who would like to invade privacy, such as encrypted email, encrypted internet, bitcoins, etc. All for it.

BUT ...

There will always be some a@@hole politician who wants to pass a LAW to try and stop you from using such means.

It is the PRINCIPLE ITSELF that must be debated, not simply how to tinker around the edges, like you might in other areas.

Once you get down to the PRINCIPLE of privacy rights FOR ITS OWN SAKE -- and not as a goal to accomplish something else -- THEN YOU HAVE THE DEBATE THAT IS IMPORTANT.

Not different at all

The question has boiled down to how to remove the incentives for others to do things that shouldn't be done. I think we've gotten past the part where I'm accused of suggesting we eliminate privacy.

So, on the incentives issue, removing the reason why Mexicans come here will stop most of them from doing so. Likely to the point that their immigration is below our national policy limits and the issue can then be handled by cutting bureaucratic red tape.

Removing the incentives for people to desire our private info would similarly remove most of them from going after it as well. We just have to be clear that there are two ways to remove an incentive. We can legislate it as illegal (or pass laws that the government can't do it) or we can de-fund whatever profit stream the criminals benefit from by using it. Each separate issue has their own set of money trails but I'll use just one as an example.

"There will always be some .. politician who wants to pass a law..."
Ok, fine. So we ask why they would want to. Does Senator Jones really have a lifetime quest to change his pet behavior? No. He absolutely does not. In 99.9999% of the cases, he was lobbied to support and then handed that bill. So, our investigation has led back to the lobbyists and we must ask why they do it.

For money again, from Acme corporation. Is it practical to chase down and stop it at this stage? Maybe, but probably not. Congress won't change this rule unless a vast majority of the people are really pissed and organized against it. Unlikely so far. So why do the companies do this bribery?

For money again, from increased profits and total market controlled monopolies. Ok, so change that? Never. ...say most people. But wouldn't it take less people to put Acme out of business than to change the lobbying laws? People boycotted BoA a couple years ago and dropped their stock about 5-10% in just 2 days. They didn't fall because we let off but what if we hadn't? What if we had an organized voice that said "Hey Monsanto, stop all GMO or we'll permanently boycott every company you have contact with." Who wouldn't join that battle? (Only sharmers - sleeping sheep farmers)

So, you see if we follow the trail far enough, every issue does have a level of accountability to the general public. We just have to stay vigilant and cohesive in targeting that bulls-eye.

Privacy is important for the

Privacy is important for the reasons you state but also just for privacy. Just because there is not legal or moral ramifications to the airing of your personal business does not mean it is okay to have privacy invaded. Do you want a webcam aimed at your toilet since you aren't doing anything illegal and have nothing to hide?

Privacy is the first line of defense

Yes, privacy is a form of self protection. I'm a very open person yet, I'm not going to give you my SS# or my passwords to my accounts.

On a personal note, I also think sex is something that should be private. I don't care what anyone's sexual orientation is or personal sexual pleasures.

So how much time and effort do you spend

on actively keeping things private. And yes, that includes posting and commenting on those issues? Wouldn't you like to live in a world where some or at least one of those areas became much easier? Wouldn't you like to have a magic button you could click and forever afterward you could simply just trust that your email address or SSN was private, instead of putting up firewalls, proxies, ad blockers, malware, etc. etc. etc.?

This is the discussion I'm pushing for here. It's not to get people to publish their sex preferences.

yes privacy is what i want.

i don't share every intimate detail with my waitress, why should i with any other group of servants?

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

your assumption is that 'government' has the best . . .

interests of those who are being 'governed' at heart--

I can't agree with that, however.

Yes, I do want privacy. No, I don't like having so much information about myself "out there"--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

It's you that is assuming

I'm not assuming anything. I posed the question relative to a scenario that government (or any other privacy concern) COULD be benign... I posed that question to get at those problems and discuss them. I did NOT ADVOCATE ANYONE CHOOSING ANYTHING DIFFERENT WITH REGARD TO PRIVACY.

It's called "asking the tough questions" and everyone here has yet to see that.

well, some of us are no longer in . . .

a classroom being graded for how we answer questions.

I'm sorry if I didn't read closely enough to catch that fine point.

Whether *you* made that assumption or not, if anyone proposes that privacy doesn't matter, because those who will use information about a person for or against that person will be a benign authority (because someone with information will be able to wield power whether for good or for bad)--

then someone, reading that, will think to him/herself, "there is no benign authority; why should anyone I don't want to have information have it?"--

That's what I thought.

I've had my years of professors who tried to get me to think along a certain line.

You can feel smart about asking 'tough questions', but my answer will be the same.

I don't want anyone to have information about me. I can barely trust those close to me with information about myself. I've been cautious about sharing anything on here; you can see my state isn't listed--
I know that private/personal things will slip out; nobody can prevent that, if they talk about anything, but I am still wary--

I might suggest that it is a bit arrogant for a person to assume that those with whom he/she is having a discussion need to be 'taught'--

to appoint yourself the discussion leader--

you're going to get different opinions, and if it amuses you to think that you are intellectually superior to the people with whom you are discussing this matter--

then don't be surprised if people don't want to discuss things with you--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

So much negativity. Put that effort into the discussion pls

You talk about me being arrogant? I was frustrated, not arrogant. That frustration came from spending tons of time on multiple different posts recently with lots of thought behind them and having zero results. ...while seeing fluff posts about what people ate for breakfast getting 6 PAGES of results. I'm sorry if you feel people shouldn't get frustrated when completely ignored repeatedly for doing things that they can do the best way they can.

And I certainly am not trying to tell people how to do things or what to think. If you had read all of my post, you'd see that I delved pretty deep into a topic to get to a deeper question and then asked it. I didn't promote anything or push any agenda on people (as MANY commentors accused me of). I have taken a lead role to direct the conversation back on topic but after all, it is my post so isn't that my prerogative?

Even your reply falsely discusses the surface issue which I only used to get to the deeper question. It seems you can't read past one sound bite issue either.

all right--

insulting people won't get good results either--

You say that I am negative; I felt negativity from your posts as well--

perhaps you have spent a lot of time; perhaps you have something meaningful to offer, but how you treat people matters, too.

I have often spent a lot of time doing an OP that got no attention, but I didn't have a tantrum over it. I just quietly realized that people weren't interested in that topic at that time--

Since you began this discussion, and since you have had a lot of people respond negatively, perhaps you need to look at your method of addressing those whom you deem not to be thinking--

And, you know, for me, perhaps there is no deeper question. I am frustrated by the lack of privacy. I am troubled over it, and at this point I don't see anything changing it other than a complete technological collapse.

Technology is a two-edged sword, and it is really the technology (computers, etc.) that has taken away privacy. The fact that there are people in positions of power who can't get enough power and will use information technology against others--

is not anything I can do anything about right now.

Yes, I have a computer, and I know things are being kept 'on' me--

but I don't have a cell phone--

and I am refusing to give as much information out as I possibly can. That is what matters to me right now. If you want others to care about what you have to say, then perhaps you should be more 'friendly' in your responses.

And, by the way, you mention 'sound bites'. I vaguely know what that means. I don't have MSM. I don't have a cell phone. I don't own a laptop or an IPOD (or IPAD). I don't have facebook, and I don't do twitter.

To me privacy is a simple thing. There isn't enough of it, and those who are collecting the information on 'everyone' don't have a benign reason for doing it.


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

We have identical concerns

"I just quietly realized that people weren't interested in that topic at that time--"

That's what I did the first dozen or more ideas that I posted. Then it started getting frustrating. After frustrating, I got to the point that I wanted to leave for good. Then my passion for fixing it over-rode that as I saw others leave and get chided for it. So I stayed and tried 3-4 times since August. Still, there was zero response in the way of actual discussion. Some got zero attention. Some got negative critiques on piddly aspects while the big picture went right past people. This is where I stand today. I'm freakin' pissed that any time someone suggests an idea (not just me) on an action we could do as a group (face it, no one person can do anything alone in this environment), it is drowned by fluff pieces such as gossip and OMG stuff.

So, was I a bit negative, maybe. Did I stick to accurate negativity? Yes. Does that make it ok? That's in the eyes of the reader, you. Obviously, you and some others took it as bad but you have to admit that I got way more discussion than my 'nice' posts. I just wish that wasn't the case but nice posts get knocked down by the cynics that say 'you can't do that!'. Whatever.

I submit that technology be fostered to be used for our needs, not the government's. Again, you're going to say we can't do that. BS. We absolutely can. Just like Twitter circumvented the firewall shutdowns, we can do the same. We just have to take each situation separately and put the right team on it. Most of them are already working on it. By doing this, we can do everything I've suggested.

How would you like to dump the Federal Reserve? Fiat money? Payments to big energy? Bank fees, insurance and pretty much every monopoly out there? With the connectivity we hold in our computers, we can easily do this. We just need it to work together the right way.

You do realize that if we stopped ALL money from going to those entities (that I just listed), that we would have 5 times the discretionary spending available to us, don't you? What other social problems would simply go away if people had that kind of spending money? What incentives would be left for people to steal our personal info just to make a buck after it became much easier to earn an honest one? What would the people's attitude be toward welfare if it only took 10-15 hours/week to support a single mother? Do you see how this builds on itself?

Just to be clear, this is all done via the free market and private actions. There's no top-down, centralized, Marxist-commie aspect whatsoever. All personal choices, such as privacy, are still respected as unalienable rights.

Now, do you see how complex of a solution it is to explain? I have tried to come at it from the money side, the free market side, Liberty, social, wars, and more. I've done this in posts and comments. If it were you with this exact experience, how would you present it for discussion?

all right--

I concede. "Nice" people don't get things done, which is why Ron Paul didn't get elected POTUS.

You have interesting ideas, and you are much more technologically literate than this 60-something.

Good luck--

(*no sarcasm*)

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Drive-by downvote

without even reading it. Nice!

Gawd, sometimes I really hate this gossip only site!

is this arrogant?


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

i read it

and down voted accordingly.
maybe now is the time for some personal attacks.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul

Then either you are lying about reading it or you

didn't comprehend what I was saying.

As I've said in the above replies, it's not a topic to get people to not be private but to learn of the ways to fix problems that arise by our needing to fight ever bigger battles.

accusatory ("you are lying")--

and arrogant ("you didn't comprehend")

How do *we* fight? By educating ourselves and making *our* voices be heard; I think most of the people on here are trying to do that--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

if it's a comprehension issue

i'm clearly not alone.

"The two weakest arguments for any issue on the House floor are moral and constitutional"
Ron Paul