aikimark March 28, 2007 7:23 AM


  1. Where does our privacy right cover our right to encrypt messages?

  2. This privacy right also seems to fly in the face of distributed file sharer suits by the RIAA.

mbcrui March 28, 2007 9:14 AM

Interesting, but it’s missing several, including Roe v. Wade (1973), and Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

cmills March 28, 2007 9:26 AM

From the article: “The Burger Court extended the right of privacy to include a woman’s right to have an abortion in Roe v Wade (1972), …”

Jim Harper March 28, 2007 10:08 AM

It is an interesting site – and well-intended, no doubt – but I have to cringe at seeing so many different interests being lumped together as “privacy.” For example, treatment of the First Amendment religion clauses as establishing “Privacy of Beliefs”: Take counterfactual examples like the conflicts about prayer in public schools and posting the Ten Commandments in (public) courthouses. Those are important issues, but they’re not privacy issues. They go to freedom of conscience, and freedom of action consistent with conscience. Privacy is an important value, but not all important values are privacy.

cmills March 28, 2007 10:25 AM

The issue with privacy is that it is such a complex subject in that you must clearly define lawful boundaries in such unclearly defined rights. It’s too much work to ever bring total resolution to the issue of privacy as a whole. Then you have people trying to push their own agendas into the works of things, which besides being offensive to the general public, causes the process to slow almost to a halt. It’s easier to simply emplace a “safe” blanket law and let the judges sort out each individual case. My solution; if you like to do some really weird stuff, go live in the most remote patch of woods that you can find.

a_Lex March 28, 2007 12:52 PM

“if you like to do some really weird stuff, go live in the most remote patch of woods that you can find.”

Weird stuff like cryptanalysis?

Smoosh Creatine March 28, 2007 3:00 PM


Privacy does exist without encryption. Encryption may be used in an attempt to obtain a sense of privacy in certain environments.

Jojo March 30, 2007 3:26 AM

The CA unemployment dept. requires unemployment recipients to file a public resume in their system. If you don’t do this, they terminate your unemployment until/if you agree to post the resume. IMO, this is a violation of someone’s privacy, exposes you to ID theft and besides, is ineffective. What they are really hoping for is that some employer or recruiter will call someone and find a job for them, getting them off the unemployment rolls. My understanding is that this happens VERY infrequently.

Is there any way to fight this policy, to go against the big government bureaucracy?

Shane March 30, 2007 12:57 PM


Unemployment… this is completely irrelevant, but I think your statement needs a retort.

Unemployment isn’t ‘free money’ for unemployed people. It is the government’s way of helping proven and skilled workers in their time(s) of need, and one of the very well outlined stipulations to this help is that the unemployed worker is actively searching for new employment.

I don’t believe that the unemployment offices asking for their own (albeit ineffective as you say) peace of mind regarding an unemployment beneficiary’s search for new employment could ever be considered a ‘violation’ of anything.

Frankly, if you’re taking their money, you’re playing by their rules. It’s as simple as that. I don’t recall anything in the law books stating that we have some unequivocal right to free money while unemployed (this is a capitalist country after all).

Jojo March 31, 2007 4:59 PM

@Shane – Sounds like you work for the government or believes everyone on unemployment or welfare is a cheat. I am not one of those looking for “free money” as you refer to it. The $450 a week of taxable income that CA paid me didn’t do much more than cover my rent and a few utilities, so of course I was motivated to look for employment (which I did locate on my own). Now if I were one of the people who could work “off the books”, then maybe this might be considered free money (although you still owe taxes on it).

The issue here isn’t free money, it’s a person’s right to privacy and whether a government agency can take that away from a citizen via arbitrary and ineffective rules in a belief that getting a person off of the employment roles is more important than anything else, including a person’s right to privacy. There are stories on the web warning about ID thieves using online resumes as one of the potential resources they have for triangulating a person’s identity. Regardless of how small a chance of that YOU might attribute to this, if the chance is greater than zero then there is risk and I do not want to accept that risk.

Second, the process of checking whether someone has posted a resume is random. I do not believe that the agency has any statistical backing for their random sampling. The agency does not have the resources to check every single person who is collecting unemployment. Therefore, the process is inherently discriminatory because it is not applied equally to all.

Third, the probable real reason I was singled out was that I wrote a few letters to the agency complaining of the fact that each unemployment form sent in th email, and which has to be returned bi-weekly, has the person’s full name and social security number printed on it. When you return your portion of the form in the flimsy envelope that is provided, it is quite easy to shine a flashlight through the envelope and read the person’s SS#. It is also easy to see using one of the chemical sprays that allow you read what is inside of a sealed envelope. I never received any response to my queries, as one might expect from a bureaucratic agency that is years behind the times in many ways and doesn’t feel that THEY have to change THEIR processes.

I am considering contacting the ACLU & others to see if anyone is interested in making a Federal case out of this.

And just in case you are going to bring up the argument that there isn’t a “right to privacy” mentioned in the constitution, I’ll point you to:

The right to privacy

The Constitution does not specifically mention a right to privacy. However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment. The right to privacy has come to the public’s attention via several controversial Supreme Court rulings, including several dealing with contraception (the Griswold and Eisenstadt cases), interracial marriage (the Loving case), and abortion (the well-known Roe v Wade case). In addition, it is said that a right to privacy is inherent in many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, such as the 3rd, the 4th’s search and seizure limits, and the 5th’s self-incrimination limit.

markm April 1, 2007 7:12 AM

In my experience, unemployment office postings is what an employer who wants to hire problem employees uses…

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