Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tired of it yet?

I often wonder when we are going to decide that an individuals’ right to privacy ends when that person acts or aspires to act in a way that impacts the life and welfare of others.
In Chicago, the mayoral candidates are scrambling to outdo one another’s pledges to remove cameras at intersections, apparently because most Chicago motorists believe their  privacy rights extend to being allowed to run red lights, even if doing so is against the law and may kill other people.     
We are learning that strict German privacy regulations probably prevented Lufthansa and its subsidiary German Wings from acting as aggressively as they should have to prevent a suicidal co-pilot from slaughtering a plane full of passengers.
Similarly, we can’t know the names of the Secret Service agents involved in any of that agency’s recent failures, whether any of the agents involved in those failures have been or will be dismissed and details of the selection and training processes that made it possible for deficient personalities  to play important roles.
The privacy fixation also impacts our lives in day- to- day ways that challenge common sense and shape the social contract. Universities are not allowed to give me the grades of those for whom I pay tuition, doctors won’t talk to me about my wife’s health,  banks won’t give me credit card balances on cards issued to others on which I am joint guarantor. While these irritants do not threaten the public welfare, the imposition of legislated standards which supersede pre-existing presumptions of normality erodes the  social contract by implying that privacy has a uniquely important value.
We will never be able to identify those most likely to commit horrific acts until we are prepared to acknowledge that an application to undertake public life requires giving up personal privacy.  A person who wants to fly or drive a public conveyance, a person who wants a license to practice medicine or dentistry, a person who wants to teach or care for our children, a person who seeks the right to provide legal, brokerage or accounting services, a person who seeks the right to carry a weapon in public places – all these and others who influence the lives of others -- should be prepared for complete disclosure.  How else can we judge the character and qualifications of those to whom we trust our lives, our money and our reputations?
I’m tired of it.  Are you?


  1. I'm tired of all this worthless, no resalable digital crap. Are you? Remember, the example of using a tape of a barking dog to save costs still had to use a tape deck that one could resell. Silicon Valley really has to be defunded.

  2. Pure drivel. Who gets to see all this private information? Post your medical files here, then.

    1) Removing Chicago cameras does not prevent stopping red light violations
    2) Lufthansa was well aware of the pilot's medical condition. There ability to act wasn't limited by privacy laws, but rather mental health laws. They had procedures in place to determine flight status.
    3) If you want to see grades for those whose tuition you pay? Make it a part of the agreement to pay the tuition. That is what I did with my daughter.
    4) Whether your wife's doctors want to discuss your wife's health is up to your wife. If you can't talk to her doctors, it because she failed to sign a document allowing it.

    Your argument is for complete disclosure by certain occupations. Such disclosures already exist. The question is how we process such information and to whom is it disclosed. Should all of American Airlines pilots have their medical records made public so any passengers can assess their own risk? I think not.

    Are you telling me American Airlines did not or does not have procedures in place to determine the medical fitness of its pilots?

    All I see are a bunch of "straw man" arguments. Privacy advocates are very concerned because we now have the technology to invade privacy without the target ever knowing and without any probable cause. Imagine being pulled over while you are out running and being asked to hand over your phone and pass code. They want to check to make sure there are no nefarious text messages or porn on your phone. Would you give it to them? Is that OK?

  3. Interesting thoughts but way off from reality in today's world. Who would watch the "watchers" of all of this info.? It should never be resalable, but to some extent it already is. Who would determine what needs to be disclosed? And to whom?
    Humanity has a long way to go before we know what a truly altruistic way of living is.

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