Is Privacy What We Really Want?Submitted by tamckissick on Sat, 02/02/2013 - 09:58
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.