Has the government spied on you? Possibly. Has your right to privacy ever been violated? Most likely. Is government surveillance something you should worry about? If you are not a terrorist, haven’t committed a crime, and haven’t been hauled away in a big black van yet, probably not.
The truth is your right to privacy is whatever the government wants it to be. If you think you have privacy rights that are protected because you live in America, you either don’t read the news or have spent most of your life somewhere else.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights won’t save you.
The Constitution will not protect your email from the NSA. The Bill of Rights does not erase the history of your visits to that website you know you shouldn’t frequent. It doesn’t protect what you do with your cell phone, either. None of these things even existed when these documents were written.
If the courts and the government want to protect your electronic activities they will, or at least they will tell you they will. That decision depends too much on who is pulling the strings in Washington. Better to err on the side of caution and assume all your electronic communications are being scrutinized. This is about individual responsibility, not privacy.
Americans like to fall back on our history of fundamental freedoms and apply what the Founding Fathers believed to whatever we feel we are being denied. We need to grow up.
We are boastful about our rights, but much of what we covet only exists when validated by a court decision. There was no such thing as gay rights when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. There was no such thing as illegal immigrant rights, either. We have civil rights because the time was right. These rights are the products of lobbyists and special interests made real by the courts and our federal legislature.
Don’t be naïve. There is no right to privacy.
Any website owner knows that the government is snooping (see: Civil Candor Post Attracts Homeland Security’s Attention). Why was anyone surprised that Eric Holder went after reporters’ phone logs? If you make your living writing about what the government does, shouldn’t you suspect that it has its fingers poking around in what you say and do?
Every click you make on the internet, every phone number you dial, and every email you send is as good as public. Get used to it. The NSA’s quest for phone records and emails, government requests for data from Google, and Homeland Security surveillance are not shots over the bow threatening our privacy rights. They are just more examples of how our government does business.
If you are going to worry about privacy, worry about this.
Obamacare is going to juggle your health records and the IRS may not be able to keep your private information secure (see: Government Won’t Guard Your Private Identity). Instead of lying awake at night worrying that some shady government agency knows you called Aunt Millie in Topeka, worry about having your identity stolen from the government. The privacy right we need to protect is not the right to be secure in communications we should have the good sense to be careful about. We need to make sure our government protects the information it already has its hands on.
The problem is who do we need to fear – terrorists or our government? A soldier who is fighting overseas has his phone calls, e-mails and web site visits monitored, then when he comes home the government will not allow him to own a firearm. It really speaks loudly as to what has happened. They go to fight for freedom in other countries but when they come home their freedoms are taken away, so why aren’t they upset? Then they have problems with the VA in trying to get help for their war wounds etc., so who is our government serving, itself or the people? We should use a little common sense in who we vote for next time if there is one. There is an old saying – smile things could get worse and so I smiled and sure enough things got worse.
Civil Candor says
There is also a saying that people shouldn’t fear the government, government should fear the people. How long has it been since that was true?
You are right CC, the government won’t have a clue, they will just mess things up for everyone.
Since Obama took office as President of the U. S. he has been determined to change America. When the government delves into our activity on the Internet, records the phone numbers we dial and the emails we send, they know a lot about us. Now with Obamacare, they will have access to all our health records. Face it, our country is not what it used to be or what the Founding Fathers designed it to be when they wrote the Constitution. Our country is becoming what Obama wants it to be, all of us completely under the control of the government. How sad and the day will come when we will wonder how this all happened. We will have lost control of our very lives, the government in a manner of speaking will own us.
Civil Candor says
At least with electronic medical records we can be reasonably sure that they won’t know what to do with them. Others might, but the government won’t.