Re : [lpsf-discuss] Re: Combatting State Surveilllance


You wrote:

there is no natural or constitutional right to privacy

Doesn't the Ninth Amendment affirm this right?

Warm regards, Michael

Michael - Okay, I'm not knowledgeable on all the facets of the 9th amendment but I understand it's thrust to be restrictions on the state for rights not otherwise stated, correct? In any event, I should further qualify my earlier statement to include just negative type rights - not positive rights or privileges granted by the state. So in that vein, if privacy is not a negative right it's not something the state can take away.

I would also lump the aspect of privacy in with that of reputation as an example of something an individual does not own outright (in concurrence with Walter Block's opinion on ones reputation).

So basically, if you are on your own property and want to protect information about yourself from being transmitted to others - be it - visual, aural, contextual, etc. you should erect barriers as such as a preventive measure. ( walls, sound proofing, faraday cages for emf)

For instance, in technical terms - when someone sees you on the street, their eyes and minds are passively receiving photons bouncing off your body. It's not their fault they are receiving this information but once they have it they at the least control it. Re-distribution of this information is another thread of course (per law, maybe they can not profit from it - agreed)

so assuming the above, if you venture out into the 'tragedy of the commons' of public spaces it would seem to me self-anonymity is the best course of action.



I would only question in your first paragraph the notion that privacy is a
positive right.

Isn't privacy a negative right, akin to the right to be left alone?

Warm regards, Michael

Maybe we should first agree on what privacy means. To me it is the confidentiality of ones actions or thoughts. The converse of it would be public consumption of information related to such actions, that were unintentional. That is why I think it is very important to define private and public property and the manner in which such information is acquired.

For instance, if I am seen cheating on my wife in public and it ends up on a blog (via police or otherwise), whose fault is that? vs. a paparazzi climbs my fence and takes photos of me cheating. The latter required an initiation of force

I don't see how privacy is a negative right when I'm essentially broadcasting information about my actions to others. If I am seen, it doesn't mean I'm not left alone.

I've often heard it argued that there's no expectation of privacy in public places. Public places, by definition, are properties held communally rather than privately. The government doesn't 'own' public property, it simply manages on behalf of the community at large. Therefore, they have no rights on public property than anyone else; consequently, no right to conduct surveillance.

Dear David,

Thanks for defining "privacy." It helps clarify our discussion.

I agree by your definition privacy is a positive right and not protected by
the (irrelevant, ignored, misunderstood, statist) U.S. Constitution.

My view is if you're doing something in public, like cheating on your wife,
then it's no longer private. Private acts are done behind closed doors and
curtained windows. In this sense perhaps you'd agree it's a negative right.

So we're both right!

Warm regards, Michael