The Right to Privacy: Not Really a Right, Nor Do We Have Privacy at the Moment Anyways

I’ve previously stated that I’m not sure that we have a constitutional right to privacy. This is not new; Robert Bork, among others, also maintained this view. I have various reasons for this, mostly pragmatic and literalistic.

As an example of the latter reason, I quote from a letter to the editor of

United States citizens have the right to express themselves without being subjected to reprisal. As such, nothing in the U.S. Constitution states that people cannot be monitored. What it does indicate is that the Federal and State governments will not interfere with the lawful communication and protests of the people, and these governments must protect these rights.

Not to say that I approve of the NSA monitoring US citizens without judicial order. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the NSA runs foul of that, no matter what powers the executive branch thinks it may have. But, pragmatically, this is going to get harder and harder to stop. If I have something to say privately, I’ll say it using the best encryption I can get. Since this is a wonderfully entrepreneurial nation, I expect that the first person to make that encryption as unobtrusive and easy to use as possible will make a fair pile of Hamiltons.

You know how your dad used to spend several hours per week maintaining the lawn, or waxing the car? You’re going to have to spend several hours a week maintaining your privacy and identity.

January 18th, 2006 | Current, Identity, Next, Security