NET BENEFIT THE COUNTERPLAN TRADES OFF PRIVACY TO GAIN NET SOCIAL BENEFIT
PRIVACY INVOLVES ISSUE TRADE OFFS -- THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER
RANDOLPH COURT; technology policy analyst, Progressive Policy Institute, The New Democrat, February, 1999 / March, 1999; Pg. 30 TITLE: PUBLIC INTEREST IN PRIVATE MATTERS; The Search for Balance Between Privacy and the Common Good in the Cyber Age // acs-VT2001
Privacy debates have grown increasingly contentious as the nascent digital economy has picked up steam. There is a regulation versus innovation dispute, with privacy advocates arguing the federal government should create consumer-protection standards for the World Wide Web and business interests contending that regulation could stifle economic innovation. There is a law enforcement versus personal privacy debate, which pits civil libertarians against government on the question of encryption technologies. And there are more general wranglings over the degree to which each new generation of Cyber Age technologies portends doom for -- or offers hope to -- society as a whole.
THE STATE CAN INTERVENE AGAINST INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IF THERE IS SUFFICIENT SOCIAL JUSTIFICATION
Richard A. Epstein National Review, September 27, 1999, TITLE: Privacy, Please; Thinking about a troublesome concept. // acs-VT2001
Let us declare, as axiomatic, the libertarian presumption that all individuals should be free to do as they like. One crucial defense of that proposition was stated by John Stuart Mill: When we allow freedom of action, at least one individual will benefit, and no other person will be harmed. A freely chosen action thus results in a social gain that all should accept and none should oppose.
This presumption, however, is far from absolute. When the action of one person involves the use of force or fraud against another, the balance of gains and losses veers sharply in the opposite direction. In this context, we can find a loser to match up with the winner, and can be confident that the magnitude of the losses (as from a killing or wounding) dwarfs the potential gains. State intervention should therefore be invoked to ensure that the liberties we cherish are not undone. Individuals have a right to be protected in their persons and property against the aggression and machinations of others.
COMMUNITARIANS BELIEVE WE ALLOW TOO MUCH PRIVACY THAT CONTRADICTS THE PUBLIC GOOD
Charles Sykes, Senior Fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Institute, THE END OF PRIVACY, 1999, EE2001-JGM, p.234
As a communitarian, Amitai Etzione approaches privacy from the opposite angle from Singleton. Where libertarians fear the expansion of the state at the expense of the individual, communitarians worry about excessive individualism. Thus, Etzione is relatively untroubled by government ecroachments on privacy and believes the greatest threats to privacy come from the private sector, and what he calls the "privacy merchants.""
Indeed, Etzione insists that as far as the "public interest" and government is concerned, Americans have too much privacy. In a series of articles and a book arguing for limits on privacy, Etzione claims that in several important areas "the common good is being systematically neglected out of excessive deference to privacy."19 Far from regarding privacy as under siege, Etzione argues that we should not "privilege" the value of privacy over other needs. This is not a new idea of Etzione, whose philosophy, known as 11 responsive communitarianism," is a conscious reaction against the excessive individualism of the 1960s . For years, Etzione has argued for the need to curtail a wide range of rights and liberties in the name of the public interest. But it is also clear that Etzione recognizes that privacy is a pivotal value and that it is central to debates over individuals versus the state and the freedom of individual choice versus the "social good."