Saturday, July 27, 2013

Privacy Intrinsic

My guinea pig, Pickle, loves to run and I'd always felt bad that she didn't have a bigger living space in which to do so. I don't think she cared one iota, but after some looking I found her an eight square foot living space. She really likes it, but she kept going to the bathroom on the side where her litter wasn't. After giving her box a thorough cleaning, I moved her makeshift canopy over to the side with the litter. I'd used a ferret swing to give her a place to hide under if she wanted. Sure enough, the added privacy over her litter did the trick. 

Pickle's old living space.

If privacy is important to such a guinea pig in some intrinsic way, how vital is it to a human being? I don't think our society, institutions, government, and business do enough to protect people's privacy. It should be really hard to find someone desires seclusion. These days it generally amounts to a single payment of $19.99 on one of many find-a-person dot coms or similar.

The collection of data by our government is worrying as well. I do think dangerous criminals and terrorists need to be tracked and stopped, but not at the expense of engaging surveillance on innocent people. President Obama dismisses these intrusions into people's privacy as being necessary for national security, but like so many of our leaders before him, he hasn't considered the cost or unintended consequences of collecting such data. 

The Government shouldn't be above the law, otherwise it loses the confidence of the people in trying to enforce that law. If corporations have to seek our consent to be tracked or have our personal data stored, so too should our government if for any other reason than collecting a fair tax or registering a vehicle.  

The analogy here is obvious I suppose. This is uncharted territory for the US Government because they are collecting this data with the knowledge of the public, but without it's consent. It's a dangerous experiment where we are all the guinea pigs. 

Pickle expressing distress at having her new living space partitioned with a wall (I removed it).

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