Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Right to Privacy?

When I see news stories about someone being caught on video while committing a crime, I'm genuinely happy that they are being exposed, especially if the victim is a hard-working, small business owner, but even more so if it's a terrorist attempting to set off a bomb. The recent bombing attempt in NY got me thinking. I'm grateful the culprit was caught, and without the video he might have gotten away. But how does the recording of people affect the rest of us law-abiding citizens?

Do you remember the book/movie "1984?" The storyline was about a totalitarian society and the people in it who were monitored/watched by "big brother." When this book was written (1949), it must have been a very scary notion, but a notion that I think, may be somewhat prevalent today. With all our technological advances, it has become very easy to observe and even track people. Every time you pull into the parking lot of most retail stores, you're on camera. When you enter that retail store, you're on camera. Our cell phones have tracking devices. And what about the government, specifically the previous administration—was it okay to wiretap people who were "profiled" as suspicious even though it was illegal to do so? Should we condone it because it's safer to do so? Does this apply to other governments more than to ours? Or is this just the price we pay for living in these troubled times. We may all be a little more paranoid since 9/11, but the idea of being watched/recorded by someone, the government or another citizen, is disturbing to me. On the other hand, would I be grateful if I were being attacked and someone recorded the event resulting in the perpetrator being caught? Are we in some kind of denial by feeling as free as we do about using our computers, phones, etc? Do we really have privacy anymore? Well, our constitution contains no express right to privacy, nor does the Bill of Rights when we refer to this type of privacy.

At the risk of sounding paranoid, my opinion is that we need to be cognizant of what's going on around us, because someone may be watching you—it can happen anywhere, at any time, while you are doing anything. How does that make YOU feel?

1 comment:

  1. I feel like its a double edged sword. I have to ponder that this morning.