Thursday, December 09, 2004

Email Privacy Laws


Andrew Bartlett of the Aus. Democrats briefly mentioned this issue on his blog , and it seems to be a bad thing.

Historically, individual privacy has been both seen as a fundamental right, and fought for vigorously on the part of your average citizen. There seems to be a general shift in society away from caring about personal freedoms as much as caring about having a fun life. There is no doubt that a little invasion of privacy can go along way in catching criminals in the act. Being able to act on a suspicion means that a lot more certainty can be obtained about suspects, enabling you to more quickly discount options, or increasing your confidence. Typically however, the only partially tangible downsides to privacy invasion have been seen as paramount, sufficient to outweight the law enforcement advantages. Police corruption is rife the world over, and most people would prefer to live their lives without voyeurs.

However I believe that this kind of legislation is being accepted by the populace because they are ceasing to mind so much. The practical impact of invasion of privacy may not be very significant if the uses are undetected and used in the pursuit of justice. So what if some government snoop spies on my emails - what I have to hide may be embarassing if my family or friends found out, but it's not illegal nor even uncommon. The impersonality of it all means that one can ignore it. If it means that we get a reign on drug trafficking, corruption of officials and various seedier underground activities, surely it's worth a little exposure?

Police are only scary if you're a criminal, right?



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