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Ser Scot A Ellison

Privacy and Government intrusion in the modern world: Is privacy an outdated concept?

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The discussion about the Subponea to Apple to unlock an iPhone and the "shooting down drones" thead along with a number of other dicussions I've seen has prompted this question.  In the US the 4th amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and Seizures and explicitly states that warrants may not issue without probable cause from a neutral judicial arbiter.  In the Drone thread a boarder (I forget their name) explicitly stated that they thought privacy was outdated.  I strenously diagree.

Privacy is why police can't just walk into our homes fo search for illegal materials.  Privacy is why, in part, when we talk to an attorney or a minister those conversations are sacrosanct.  Privacy is a cornerstone of modern liberal democracys acting as a bulwark against intrusion by the State.

Privacy, in my opinion is and always will be important.  Do you agree? If not, why not?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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Privacy also should protect us against the nosy companies that the US seems to harbour with delight :)

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7 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Privacy is why police can't just walk into our homes fo search for illegal materials.  Privacy is why, in part, when we talk to an attorney or a minister those conversations are sacrosanct.  Privacy is a cornerstone of modern liberal democracies acting as a bulwark against intrusion by the State.

Privacy, in my opinion is and always will be important.  Do you agree? If not, why not?

I agree, for the same reasons.  

At the same time, privacy keeps slipping away as technology advances.  As I type this my employer is taking screenshots of my computer screen every few seconds and storing it away on some server should they ever want to peek at what I'm doing.  The government has satellites in space that can (at minimum) read my license plate, nevertheless see whatever else I may be doing in view on my property.  Do they need a warrant to look?  Tech companies spend enormous sums of money gathering data about us in order to better serve their own profits.  Privacy seems to be shrinking at an exponential rate, and I find that quite alarming.

ETA: What I find even more alarming, is that the vast majority of people don't seem to mind very much.  One of the reasons I'm hoarding gold :P and plan to go completely off the grid once my sons are raised to suitable self-sufficiency. 

 

 

Edited by Ded As Ned

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Privacy is very important, but there are limits.  I don't think there should be an expectation of privacy while in public places, like buses and trains. (this is an issue currently in Baltimore on the public buses want to add audio to the cameras.)

My home, my car, my person, my phone are off limits without a warrant. 

 

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I think it's unfortunate that so much of our privacy has been whittled away. The entire security apparatus built up around the wars on terror and drugs strike me as a net minus towards the overall quality of life in society. Someone did a study, it may have been FAIR iirc, over those Bushjr terror level thingys, the ones where the admin would rate the weeks terror threat through a color code. Remember that farcical stuff where Tom Ridge would come on TV and propagandize us monthly? Well what the study concluded was what I had long suspected, the terror level color code bullshit was being used to distract from any negative news cycle.

So what they found was each and every time say unemployment would rise or stocks would dive, that same news cycle Tom Ridge or some other bogeyman would trot out and announce the terror threat had changed from mauve to super pink and we should forget about that manafacturer moving to Mexico and be super, super scared because things and were tellin ya so, and you should load up on duct tape and bottled water RIGHTFAWKINGNOWHURRY!!

In the meantime while the talking heads of propaganda have sucessfully scared the bejeezus out of everyone, behind the scenes they are devising this whole Orwellian state that can monitor every aspect of society 24/7. Your phone, computer, tablet, cell able to be eyeballed or eavesdropped. The checks and balance of privacy diminished through kangaroo rubber stamp courts like a weakened FISA court which the Patriot Act enabled it to issue warrents retroactively. Talk about a greenlight to spy on anyone, retroactive warrants really? I dont know if the courts can still issue these retro warrants with immunity or not, but I know they were doing it for some time-

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - Wikipedia, the free ...

Wikipedia › wiki › Foreign_Intelligence...
Only the number of warrants applied for, issued and denied, is reported. ... The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it .... which would amend FISA to grant retroactiveamnesty for warrantless surveillance ...
So really when we turn our backs on allowing any check to State power, to State intrusiveness in the name of security, we surrender to the idea of Orwellian life, to the loss of freedom that should come with a bare minimal expectation that we could carry out daily tasks and socializing without a dubious State agent probing us. We have lost much because we have been numbed while these measures grew around us under the guise of "security".

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I think some privacy is the price we have to pay for modern technology, but ultimately yeah, privacy is very important. We're humans, after all. 

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You just gave me flashbacks to my 1L year and appellate brief dealing with the reasonable expectation of privacy. We had to argue for or against a warrantless search of an individual's trash. Basically, California v. Greenwood. I find 4th Amendment questions some of the most interesting of all constitutional issues. I always view privacy through the lens of reasonable expectation of privacy. Basically Katz v. U.S. and California v. Greenwood with Katz being more  similar based on the facts. I fear that with the introduction of the internet, social media, etc. we are diluting that reasonable expectation of privacy. The amount of personal information we make available through such technology is frightening when you think about it. I agree with others that privacy is important, but are we slowly allowing eavesdropping/weakening our expectations of privacy with modern tech?

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Privacy is alot like Freedom people want alot for themselves but not a whole hell of alot for anyone else.  I'm amazed 4th amendment being what it is these days that this is actually causing something that has been missing from supreme court cases a very long time...legitimate debate about a substantive issue.  The "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" argument works great...until you have something hide.  

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Scot,

I agree. For better or worse, subjectivity and ambiguity is rather commonplace in the law.

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Quote

I agree with others that privacy is important, but are we slowly allowing eavesdropping/weakening our expectations of privacy with modern tech?

Well, yeah. Which we've done for a while now, anyway. 

Not only is the ease of finding things out via tech higher, the casualness of people is increasing. What we're now seeing is that there are a lot of people who want their privacy protected largely because of threat of harassment from other people - and that isn't solved by privacy laws at all. 

But it's hard to make the argument that, for instance, anything that is on your public Facebook feed is not fair game to government officials. Or anything that is publicly tweeted is not fair game. Why would it be? And largely, do people care that much? 

I think in general we're seeing a pivot from wanting to protect privacy, period to wanting to protect being attacked via personal data. 

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That statement was intended to be rhetorical, but you make an important point about the casualness of people. A problem with the internet and social media is a false sense of anonymity and security tied to that anonymity. Most people would not readily share certain info with others in a face to face conversation. We are much more open with one another due to this false sense of anonymity and security. I am certain social media presents those in the social sciences with quite interesting questions. Of course opinions on the subject of privacy will vary depending on one's viewpoint of the law as a sword or shield.

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Well I guess I should start making extra coffee in the morning for when the cointelpro crew finally shows up at the door.

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14 hours ago, AverageGuy said:

This does not surprise me at all.  Trump and the Republicans are Statists at heart they love power and having power. 

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On 5/5/2018 at 9:20 AM, larrytheimp said:

Well I guess I should start making extra coffee in the morning for when the cointelpro crew finally shows up at the door.

No skim milk please. They can't stand the stuff.

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Then there's this new system of observation in China which has some kind of social credit score attached to it.  There was a Black Mirror episode where a Facebook-like system existed rather than state one, but it still contained terrifying scenarios like being shut out of certain places and deals because of your social score dropping.  

What's scary about the system in China is that the tech isn't the problem.  Not even close.  Other developed nations could easily implement this if they only had a government willing and able.  And given past NSA revelations plus Friday's news that surveillance has already skyrocketed under Trump it wouldn't be too surprising if there's already moves in this direction.  The notion of facial recognition software being everywhere is so creepy.

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Privacy matters less and less when you can just fake what you want your enemies to say, anyway.

Here's an example:

https://www.smh.com.au/technology/the-deepest-fake-how-new-tech-will-test-our-belief-in-what-we-see-20180423-p4zb4w.html

With the new technologies that can make plausible fakes to most things, who needs to spy? Just make it up.

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