Should people have a right to privacy?

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Good_Egg
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by Good_Egg »

GE Morton wrote: May 26th, 2022, 10:53 am
LuckyR wrote: May 26th, 2022, 1:58 am
GE Morton wrote: May 25th, 2022, 12:56 pm Hypothetical: You're standing behind another person in a supermarket checkout line. That person runs her credit card through the scanner. You have a photographic memory, see the card, and commit all the info on it to memory. Then you go home and publish that information on a sketchy website. Within hours, dozens of people all over the post charges to that card, amounting to thousands of dollars, until the bank finally cancels the card. You post no charges yourself. Have you committed any crime? Have you behaved immorally?
To my mind this case is a perfect example of conspiracy to commit a crime. One is the good memory publisher and the other is the fraudulent charger. Under US law they would be equally culpable.
It would not be a conspiracy unless the discloser and the fraudulent charger were in communication and working from a common plan. But the discloser could be charged with aiding and abetting a felony.
If your intent in publishing the information is that others make use of it to commit fraud, and they do, then that sounds like "working from a common plan".

More debatable are the cases where there is no common plan:

E.g.1 you publish with the intent that somebody use the info to commit fraud, but nobody does. Have you then done wrong ?

E.g. 2 your intent is innocent - you use real overheard details in a work of fiction, either unconsciously or consciously in an effort at making your fiction more realistic. Some fraudsters read your work of fiction, try out the card number(s) that they lift from it, and find they are successful. Have you then done wrong ?
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
GE Morton
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by GE Morton »

LuckyR wrote: May 27th, 2022, 2:02 am
A sharp lawyer can convince 12 citizens that the website is the modern, digital version of communication.
Maybe, if the jurors are gullible enough and the defense attorney is asleep. :-)
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by GE Morton »

Good_Egg wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:46 am
If your intent in publishing the information is that others make use of it to commit fraud, and they do, then that sounds like "working from a common plan".
There can be no common plan if there is no communication between the "conspirators," though they may have a common intent.
E.g.1 you publish with the intent that somebody use the info to commit fraud, but nobody does. Have you then done wrong ?
You've then attempted to aid and abet credit card fraud. So, yes, you've done wrong. Under the Model Penal Code, though perhaps not in all states, attempts are punishable to the same extent as the completed crime.
E.g. 2 your intent is innocent - you use real overheard details in a work of fiction, either unconsciously or consciously in an effort at making your fiction more realistic. Some fraudsters read your work of fiction, try out the card number(s) that they lift from it, and find they are successful. Have you then done wrong ?
Since there is no mens rea, that would be ordinarily be a civil, rather than a criminal matter. But there is such a thing as criminal negligence, and that might qualify.
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Sy Borg
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

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LuckyR wrote: May 27th, 2022, 2:14 am
Sy Borg wrote: May 26th, 2022, 9:30 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 26th, 2022, 1:51 amSo the answer is that since the information is likely not legally private, disclosing it (republishing information that is already published in an obscure and seldom visited, yet perfectly public location), is perfectly legal and ethical, though I agree violates most folks' moral code.

It is something that is "wrong" for a friend to do, is neutral for a stranger to do and most would expect an enemy to do.
Nicely put. However, strangers and enemies today are often the same thing, eg. Richard Dawkins receiving death threats for his comments about evolution and creationism.
I don't disagree, though the whole social media death "threat", is a misuse of the word threat. Some yahoo sitting in his mother's bssement in his underwear with a laptop, 2000 miles away from someone typing: "I hope you die", isn't really a credible threat. It's more of an attempt at an insult. It's brought up by the victim to try to garner a combination of gravitas and sympathy.
Nancy Pelosi might disagree. If the Capitol mob got hold of her, it would have been game over.
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Count Lucanor
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by Count Lucanor »

I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions. The whole purpose of doxing is to harass, intimidate or stalk people, a variant of mob lynching. Context is always relevant to judge such actions. Most people are willing to reveal their home address to strangers in a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties, but will not find it suitable if that information is expected to be used to intimidate them as revenge for their actions or stances.
GE Morton
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by GE Morton »

Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions. The whole purpose of doxing is to harass, intimidate or stalk people, a variant of mob lynching. Context is always relevant to judge such actions. Most people are willing to reveal their home address to strangers in a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties, but will not find it suitable if that information is expected to be used to intimidate them as revenge for their actions or stances.
Well, one's address is not exactly "personal information," in the sense of private information, i.e., information one discloses only selectively. Your neighbors all know your address, as does your employer and many of the people with whom you do business. If you own your home your name and address will be listed in county property records, and if you use a landline phone, it will be in the phone book. And of course, one can find almost anyone's address via numerous internet "people search" sites. It is, in a word, public knowledge.

You said, "I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information . . ." "Use" is the key word there. The law should concern itself with how "personal" information is used, rather than with how it was obtained --- unless it was obtained by illegal means, such as cracking your safe or hacking a bank or medical website.
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Count Lucanor
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

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GE Morton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 10:07 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions. The whole purpose of doxing is to harass, intimidate or stalk people, a variant of mob lynching. Context is always relevant to judge such actions. Most people are willing to reveal their home address to strangers in a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties, but will not find it suitable if that information is expected to be used to intimidate them as revenge for their actions or stances.
Well, one's address is not exactly "personal information," in the sense of private information, i.e., information one discloses only selectively.
Well, let's start by saying that personal information does not automatically implies privacy, and I never suggested such a thing. What makes it personal is the content of the information, what makes it private or public is its general availability to others. Disclosing my intimate secrets to my wife will not make that information public. Not revealing to her today's lottery numbers will not make that information private.
GE Morton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 10:07 pmYour neighbors all know your address, as does your employer and many of the people with whom you do business. If you own your home your name and address will be listed in county property records, and if you use a landline phone, it will be in the phone book. And of course, one can find almost anyone's address via numerous internet "people search" sites.
Of course. That's exactly what is meant by "a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties".
GE Morton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 10:07 pm It is, in a word, public knowledge.
No, if it is in the phone book, it will be publicly available information, but not necessarily public knowledge. Information that is given to another party, such as the employer or people for which you fill out forms, is not necessarily public information. There was a recent case here where a woman went to get her driver's license and later the guy to which she submitted the forms started texting her on Whatsapp. He lost his job for using her (and other women's) personal information (their phone numbers) without their permission. Everyone agrees he was not entitled to use that information, even though she gave it to him. Context.
GE Morton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 10:07 pm You said, "I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information . . ." "Use" is the key word there. The law should concern itself with how "personal" information is used, rather than with how it was obtained --- unless it was obtained by illegal means, such as cracking your safe or hacking a bank or medical website.
Sure, that's because information could be obtained by perfectly legal means and still be used in the wrong way, such as doxing, or as in the case above, for stalking.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

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Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions.
I am in general agreement with your sentiments. I suspect most of us are. (?) But to protect these 'rights', in a world dominated by American Predatory Capitalism, we need binding laws that specify whether and how these rights might be bought, sold, rented or transferred. It seems that, to preserve our privacy, buying, selling and transference of these 'rights' must be forbidden and prevented. Only renting, with strict and binding constraints on what is rented, and for how long, might be possible without compromising our privacy?
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GE Morton
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:19 am But to protect these 'rights', in a world dominated by American Predatory Capitalism, we need binding laws that specify whether and how these rights might be bought, sold, rented or transferred. It seems that, to preserve our privacy, buying, selling and transference of these 'rights' must be forbidden and prevented.
Well, prohibiting the selling/buying of anything inevitably results in a black market. And also inevitably, black market sellers will be far less interested in the uses to which their contraband product is put than the likes, of say, Google or Amazon. Also, prohibiting the transfer of information would seem to be an egregious infringement of free speech --- unless the transferor "knew, or should have known" that the info would be used for a nefarious purpose. Which gets us back to the uses of information, rather than its provenance.
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LuckyR
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by LuckyR »

Sy Borg wrote: May 27th, 2022, 5:06 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 27th, 2022, 2:14 am
Sy Borg wrote: May 26th, 2022, 9:30 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 26th, 2022, 1:51 amSo the answer is that since the information is likely not legally private, disclosing it (republishing information that is already published in an obscure and seldom visited, yet perfectly public location), is perfectly legal and ethical, though I agree violates most folks' moral code.

It is something that is "wrong" for a friend to do, is neutral for a stranger to do and most would expect an enemy to do.
Nicely put. However, strangers and enemies today are often the same thing, eg. Richard Dawkins receiving death threats for his comments about evolution and creationism.
I don't disagree, though the whole social media death "threat", is a misuse of the word threat. Some yahoo sitting in his mother's bssement in his underwear with a laptop, 2000 miles away from someone typing: "I hope you die", isn't really a credible threat. It's more of an attempt at an insult. It's brought up by the victim to try to garner a combination of gravitas and sympathy.
Nancy Pelosi might disagree. If the Capitol mob got hold of her, it would have been game over.
No doubt, but that wasn't an online threat.
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LuckyR
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by LuckyR »

GE Morton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 10:07 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions. The whole purpose of doxing is to harass, intimidate or stalk people, a variant of mob lynching. Context is always relevant to judge such actions. Most people are willing to reveal their home address to strangers in a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties, but will not find it suitable if that information is expected to be used to intimidate them as revenge for their actions or stances.
Well, one's address is not exactly "personal information," in the sense of private information, i.e., information one discloses only selectively. Your neighbors all know your address, as does your employer and many of the people with whom you do business. If you own your home your name and address will be listed in county property records, and if you use a landline phone, it will be in the phone book. And of course, one can find almost anyone's address via numerous internet "people search" sites. It is, in a word, public knowledge.

You said, "I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information . . ." "Use" is the key word there. The law should concern itself with how "personal" information is used, rather than with how it was obtained --- unless it was obtained by illegal means, such as cracking your safe or hacking a bank or medical website.
You logic is sound but your examples are antiquated. Currently it is equally technically possible (for some people) to find your address and find that you did a search for gay porn.
"As usual... it depends."
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LuckyR
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by LuckyR »

Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions. The whole purpose of doxing is to harass, intimidate or stalk people, a variant of mob lynching. Context is always relevant to judge such actions. Most people are willing to reveal their home address to strangers in a context where such information is practical and relevant for both parties, but will not find it suitable if that information is expected to be used to intimidate them as revenge for their actions or stances.
You are correct: both you and most people believe that they have such rights... but we don't.
"As usual... it depends."
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Sy Borg
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by Sy Borg »

LuckyR wrote: May 29th, 2022, 12:30 am
Sy Borg wrote: May 27th, 2022, 5:06 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 27th, 2022, 2:14 am
Sy Borg wrote: May 26th, 2022, 9:30 pm
Nicely put. However, strangers and enemies today are often the same thing, eg. Richard Dawkins receiving death threats for his comments about evolution and creationism.
I don't disagree, though the whole social media death "threat", is a misuse of the word threat. Some yahoo sitting in his mother's bssement in his underwear with a laptop, 2000 miles away from someone typing: "I hope you die", isn't really a credible threat. It's more of an attempt at an insult. It's brought up by the victim to try to garner a combination of gravitas and sympathy.
Nancy Pelosi might disagree. If the Capitol mob got hold of her, it would have been game over.
No doubt, but that wasn't an online threat.
It was, until it became manifest. Online mobbing can trigger certain personalities, and both the mobbers and the mobbed know it. A certain former POTUS knew it too.
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Count Lucanor
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by Count Lucanor »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:19 am
Count Lucanor wrote: May 27th, 2022, 9:35 pm I think people have the right to restrict the use, without their consent, of their personal information, and that includes its public disclosure with malicious intentions.
I am in general agreement with your sentiments. I suspect most of us are. (?) But to protect these 'rights', in a world dominated by American Predatory Capitalism, we need binding laws that specify whether and how these rights might be bought, sold, rented or transferred. It seems that, to preserve our privacy, buying, selling and transference of these 'rights' must be forbidden and prevented. Only renting, with strict and binding constraints on what is rented, and for how long, might be possible without compromising our privacy?
There are many levels of social interaction and so there are individual dispositions and levels of consent to share personal information with others. The whole purpose of people using social platforms like Facebook or Instagram is that they want to share information about their lives, and yet in those apps one appears to have the option to limit the public that can have access to that information. Although they appear to be free, these apps come at the price of allowing these companies to sell your information to obtain their huge profits. Is it legal and fair? At the first level of the transaction, I think it is, because there's mutual consent and knowledge of what the transaction involves. I wouldn't regulate Facebook for that reason alone. It remains a bit uncomfortable, though, when you realize there's a "secret level", where these companies obtain your information by other means, which do not involve your direct consent. I talk casually with someone about sleeping mattresses and boom, an ad appears minutes later with that product, so they were listening. Therefore, I would support regulation for other reasons as censorship, or if the information is obtained secretly without consent, or if it is to be shared with any government's agencies, all of which seem to be the case already, involving secret surveillance and breach of the access restrictions one set ups in the app. That's not too far away from "malicious intentions".

Anyway, the principles of individual rights are not absolute. As always, there are limits, and as the old saying goes: "your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins". Public interest might also set limits to your right to save personal information to yourself, and there are obvious practical reasons why absolute privacy would not be advisable in the light of our personal interests: how would I get a job if I don't want to hand out my resumé to strangers? In the end, laws in general should produce a fair balance between public and private interests.
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Re: Should people have a right to privacy?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:19 am But to protect these 'rights', in a world dominated by American Predatory Capitalism, we need binding laws that specify whether and how these rights might be bought, sold, rented or transferred. It seems that, to preserve our privacy, buying, selling and transference of these 'rights' must be forbidden and prevented.
GE Morton wrote: May 28th, 2022, 1:44 pm Well, prohibiting the selling/buying of anything inevitably results in a black market.
But if the prohibition is formal, i.e., a criminal law, it gives those whose rights are violated a means of recourse.


GE Morton wrote: May 28th, 2022, 1:44 pm Also, prohibiting the transfer of information would seem to be an egregious infringement of free speech --- unless the transferor "knew, or should have known" that the info would be used for a nefarious purpose. Which gets us back to the uses of information, rather than its provenance.
The much-vaunted American focus on 'freedom' of speech tends to distract us from other, possibly more important (?), rights. How about the right to privacy, or confidentiality, for a start? This is what we're discussing here, isn't it?

I think there should be some information that may not be made public under any circumstances, other that may only be made public with the explicit permission of the person concerned, and so forth. What justification could there be for any other course?
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