More on Privacy

Angelique 1-15

I wrote three days ago about a new book coming from Daniel Solove entitled Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security.  Now comes an interview with Solove appearing in the ACLU blog, in which he covers some of the same material.  I did find the exchange on “privacy in public” interesting, however, since as photographers we’ve all rather depended on the aphorism, “A person in public may have no reasonable expectation of privacy”:

JS: Another line we confront all the time at the ACLU is, “you have no privacy in public.” And this is used to justify things like warrantless GPS tracking, or pervasive video surveillance. What is your take on that?

DS: Privacy in public is extremely important. We go about much of our lives in public not expecting to be constantly monitored and recorded. Imagine if you were placed under surveillance at every moment you were outside your home. Everywhere you went, every time you entered a store and bought something, every restaurant, everything you did outside would find its way into a dossier about you. That would be tremendously oppressive. The Supreme Court has taken the view that you have no privacy in public, which means no Fourth Amendment protection. That means that the government can engage in a massive amount of surveillance without any judicial oversight or other protections and accountability. This is a ton of unbridled power to give the government in a free society. During the next year, the Supreme Court will be reexamining this view regarding GPS surveillance. New technologies are so much more pervasive and invasive than older ones, and the Supreme Court’s “no privacy in public” view was formed during times before such technologies had become so potent. I hope the Court will be progressive and rethink its notions of privacy rather than cling to its antiquated views.

Also covered:  the “Nothing-to-Hide” argument, data mining, privacy vs. security, etc.


No ISP Left Behind Department

More on the proposed “The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” and its requirement that ISPs would need to retain temporary Internet addresses for 18 months.  Some are claiming it would extend to coffee shops, hotels, etc., that provide a hard-wired network connection to their clients.

And, as I forecast two days ago, local law enforcement has now chimed in — naturally to favor the proposed law.


Forbidden Love Department

I’ve written before about the horrible consequences visited by some over-zealous prosecutors on youngsters who sext, in all cases probably at worst their exercise of bad judgment.  Now here’s an excellent, if heart-rending story of how long-lasting can be consequences of being found guilty of a sex crime at an early age — lifelong labeling as a sexual offender, even when the label has no continuing justification.  I suppose some might say the lesson is if you are going to have teenage sex, do it while both are below the age of consent, or both over.

There are now more than 650,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. There are no reliable statistics on the number of juveniles — but the problem is clearly on the rise. Each of the 50 states now has at least one grassroots group dedicated to getting young people — many high school age, but some under the age of 10 — off the registry. The effort includes judges and other legal experts who say they have seen the problem often enough to persuade them that the system needs adjustment.

Still, the problem is poorly understood. Partly out of embarrassment, some parents don’t want to talk about this issue — even as they work to try to remove their own children from the registry. To get some answers as to the extent of the problem, we conducted our own survey, state by state. What we found: Not all states register juveniles, and of the 34 that do, only 23 keep track of the number of juveniles on the registry. In those 23 states, there are nearly 23,000 registered juveniles. No states monitor whether the number of juveniles is on the rise or not, but one state, Oregon, provided an estimate, reporting a 70 percent jump in that state since 2005.

(Oh, yeah, sex offender registries may be traced to another pair of no-one-can-possibly-vote-against-that laws, the “Jacob Wetterling Act” and “Megan’s Law.”)


Recording Cops Department

Commentary by an apparently-retired cop saying that cops should support recording cops in public, and it should not be illegal.


Cops Demand Identification Department

Another instance of photographers (in this case reporters) being detained and intimidated into handing over their IDs.  Best recommendation:  avoid greater Los Angeles if you wish to photograph “sensitive” subjects, or be prepared to stand up for your rights even in the face of overwhelming pressure.


Courting the Jewish Vote Department

How do you pronounce “chutzpah”?  Ask Michele Bachmann:



My Caribbean gal.

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