APPEALS TO PRIVACY ARE NOT SPECIFIC, BUT REMAIN VAGUE AND DIFFERENTIATED
MANY SAY PRIVACY IS IMPORTANT BUT NO ONE CAN REALLY SPECIFY WHY AND HOW
Alan Ehrenhalt, Governing Magazine, May, 1999;Pg. 7 TITLE: THE MISGUIDED ZEAL OF THE PRIVACY LOBBY // acs-VT2001
But merely to say such a thing is to risk provoking shock and even ridicule among most members of the educated elite in this country. In the past generation, the idea that our precious privacy is under siege has transcended ideological differences, from the Cato Institute on the right, which says "the history of government programs indicates privacy rights are violated routinely whenever expediency dictates," to Justice William O. Douglas on the left, who wrote near the end of his life that "we are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times, where there are no secrets from the government." Ask to see the evidence for these propositions, and you won't get much. But you will be branded as a naif, or a proto-Fascist, or both.
WE CANNOT JUSTIFY CREATING NEW PRIVACY RIGHTS JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE FEEL UNEASY ABOUT OTHERS HAVING INFORMATION ABOUT THEM
Solveig Singleton, director of information studies at the Cato Institute, January 22, 1998 Cato Policy Analysis No. 295 PRIVACY AS CENSORSHIP: A Skeptical View of Proposals to Regulate Privacy in the Private Sectorhttp://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-295.html // acs-EE2001
Many people learning of the existence of a collection of personal data about themselves feel uneasy.(40) "The notion of having others poke into our lives, record it and sell to their own benefit is ethically disturbing."(41) But creating new privacy rights cannot be justified simply because people feel vague unease.
AMORPHOUS APPEALS TO "PRIVACY THREATS" ARE EMPTY JUSTIFICATIONS FOR REGULATION
Solveig Singleton, director of information studies at the Cato Institute, October 18, 1999http://www.cdt.org/privacy/FTC/profiling/singleton.htm// acs-EE2001
For the most part, however, these practical questions have taken a back seat to costs in the form of amorphous "threats to privacy." Privacy is quite a different issue than security--the best answer to security concerns might be to use biometrics, not to gather less or no information. "Threats to privacy" are costs that exist largely in people's minds in the form of vague unease felt for a few seconds when making one's first purchase online, revived by journalistic hype about "Big Brother" and the prodding of survey takers. Is this state of the jitters a real "cost" to be redressed by government action, or technophobia that will ease with experience and experiments with new business practices? An online survey by Jovan Philyaw of DigitalConvergence.com found that consumers tend to worry less about privacy the longer they had spent online.