L. Gordon Crovitz discusses Jeff Jarvis’s book, Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, on WSJ. He writes, in part:
Congress is considering several privacy bills. But Mr. Jarvis calls it a “dire mistake to regulate and limit this new technology before we even know what it can do.”
Privacy is notoriously difficult to define legally. Mr. Jarvis says we should think about privacy as a matter of ethics instead. We should respect what others intend to keep private, but publicness reflects the choices “made by the creator of one’s own information.” The balance between privacy and publicness will differ from person to person in ways that laws applying to all can’t capture.
Ethics? We saw how well relying on ethics and lack of regulation worked out with Wall Street, didn’t we?
Just as some rights are so near and dear to us that they have constitutional or statutory protection, so too, should the right to privacy have such protections. Hoping that people will respect others’ choices and wishes is just cockeyed optimism.