Good morning folks,
I will be working in Montréal today.
No one ever talks about the 4th amendment to the U.S Constitution on TV land, always talkin' bout the 1st (no establishment of a state religion, freedom of speech, press), the 2nd (the right of the people to keep and bear arms), and the 5th (covers a lot, but every knows the right not to self incrimination).
But the 4th is a good one, a great one.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Let's chat about privacy for a second. Last night I played racquetball. A typical activity for me on a Wednesday night and Sunday AMs too. I played for two hours or so and then hit the showers. Dried off and tried to open my locker. eeep! No key. My gym bag has a hole in the key pocket and my key dropped out somewhere in front of the courts. So while Darren was off to look for my key (I was buck naked and not in good form to wander the club) I stood and chatted with Brian about his miserable performance on the court.
Oh wait. He bought beer last night. He played an outstanding set of games!
And then... A woman walked in. A female. A member of the gentler persuasion. She let out a squeak and stopped dead, performed a quick pirouette and existed hastily. Brian and I just laughed. Now for me, I was in good form, freshly showered, body in reasonable shape and looking good after a few hours of running around the court and most importantly, I had not been in the pool.
If I had to choose a moment for a reveal of naked body Daniel, it would be a good pick. Was my privacy violated? Sure but it was by accident, and the exposure was limited to one female for about 2 seconds.. maybe 3.. she may have lingered before her pirouette :)
But how would I feel if she had taken pictures and shared them with the world? Not so great. You see although I really have nothing to hide, it's my junk and I get to decide who should see it. And that is the argument against people that invariably answer breaches of privacy with, "well if you have nothing to hide you should not care.".
I read today that the U.S. gov't has ordered Verizon to provide on an ongoing and daily basis to provide records of all phone calls occurring on its systems. All. All local calls, all intra-LATA calls, all Inter-LATA calls, and all calls between the U.S. and other countries. Yep. They mean all. For every subscriber. 100 million wireless, 12 million residential wireline and 10 million commercial lines.
This order has been made without any regard of individual suspect of wrongdoing, it is search and seizure in bulk. And I will add that if Verizon was ordered to do so, then the other Telco's were as well.
A violation of the 4th's requirement for probable cause? I think so. And what about Canadians? I suppose we can't bitch too much if our neighbours to the south are constantly willing to give up their privacy with barely a whimper, but this also involves the privacy of Canadians.
Records of calls between you and I and U.S. phone numbers will be supplied to the U.S. gov't. Perhaps Harper and his interest in Canadian privacy will intervene, didn't he think the Census was too invasive?
I also read comments to the news like, "I have nothing to hide, I don't call terrorists." Well I don't call terrorists either, but it is still none of the U.S. gov't business who in the U.S. I call, or who my family and friends there in the U.S. call.
If the 1st amendment protects free speech, then gov't activity that monitors it and causes persons to avoid speaking to protect their privacy is a violation of those rights.
The 2nd amendment allows the keeping and bearing of arms to defend from an abusive federal gov't -- how much abuse will Americans tolerate? See: prior pulp on sedition.
That's it for me, on final descent into Montréal. Have a good day, cover your junk.