Mar 212012
 March 21, 2012  Posted by  Misc

@PrivacyMatters tweeted about a great post by Monique Altheim on the recent EU Conference on Privacy and Protection of Personal Data. Monique creatively wrote a play in three acts that humorously mocks some of the statements made by various parties at the talk. You can read her post here and view the actual panel session.

I think that although the EU pressures the U.S. to come more into line with its laws and policies, the EU’s approach will never be satisfactory to the American mentality of “we have to be able to sue the shit out of people.” That’s not to say that I like the U.S. framework, though, because I don’t believe in voluntary codes of conduct that are not enforceable and that do not provide for individual causes of action.

Some day, maybe I’ll understand why the Founding Fathers did not make the right to privacy more explicit. The only explanation I’ve ever come up with for that massive omission on their part is that they assumed that everyone knew that we have a right to privacy. Just as there is no right to engage in sex explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, so, too, I think, did the framers think that some things just didn’t need mentioning because it was so damned obvious. Or maybe they thought that the Ninth Amendment reserving rights to the people would be sufficient. I don’t know and maybe some constitutional scholar will explain it to me.

In the meantime, I continue to maintain that the right to privacy is a human right that transcends nations and is a biological and intellectual necessity in our evolution. For the U.S. to embrace that position, however, might mean that we’d have to stop introducing or enacting laws that trample our privacy – such as state laws mandating unnecessary ultrasound tests, allowing employers to demand social media logins, etc.

Imagine what this country could be like if the right to privacy were truly embraced and applied to government and businesses.

In the meantime, if, as Monique suggests in her clever post, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus, then does that make privacy advocates trying to integrate and resolve the two approaches Janus?

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