Privacy in Context

“If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.”

“Privacy’s moral weight, it’s importance as a value, does not shrink or swell in direct proportion to the numbers of people who want or like it, or how much they want or like it. Rather, privacy is worth taking seriously because it is among the rights, duties, or values of any morally legitimate social and political system.” (p. 66)

“An evaluation that finds a given system or practice to be morally or politically problematic, in my view, is grounds for resistance and protest, for challenge, and for advocating redesign or even abandonment. If special circumstances are so compelling as to override this prescription, the burden of proof falls heavily upon the shoulders of proponents.” (p. 191)

“We have a right to privacy, but it is neither a right to control personal information nor a right to have access to this information restricted. Instead, it is a right to live in a world in which our expectations about the flow of personal information are, for the most part, met; expectations that are shaped not only by force of habit and convention but a general confidence in the mutual support these flows accord to key organizing principles of social life.”

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