In the first part of the discussion of the give and take of privacy, I covered how we are giving away privacy in terms of our legal right to privacy and simple propriety. I believe we are more aware of what is happening with Facebook and Twitter and other social media formats where we tell the world our business. But when it comes to public safety, the conversation becomes much more complicated.
I will state this bold opinion: The world is not safer if your rights are compromised or limited. If there is an illegal or unauthorized wiretap on your phone without probable cause to believe that you have done anything wrong, what does that accomplish? Yet, in 2005, the Bush Administration used illegal wiretaps, despite the fact there was a mechanism in place, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which rarely rejected requests for wiretaps. Our privacy was taken in that situation, and taken illegally for that matter, and I am not certain we were made safer as a result.
I’ll admit there is a counter-argument. The attempted bombing in Times Square was foiled by a bad bombmaker and the numerous surveillance cameras (estimates range from hundreds to thousands). But there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the middle of Times Square. There is face recognition and matching software that doesn’t require identification of the individual in the picture. And while that sounds harmless enough, hackers can do enough damage with your bank information—imagine what they could do with your image and malicious intent.
Although things have become alarmingly like George Orwell’s 1984, I am not recommending everyone collapse in paranoid defeat. Our First Amendment right to Free Speech is our strongest weapon in a fight to protect our other Constitutional rights. So speak out against hate speech and bigotry. Inform with the truth, don’t inflame with innuendo or lies. Since the mid-term elections are coming soon, give yourself the time to learn about the issues and the candidates, and take your Constitutional right and vote.