Privacy does not seem to be a basic right. In some locations in the good old U.S. of A., it’s illegal to ‘live off the grid.’
‘Off the grid’ usually refers to a home not being connected to the electrical grid, but also municipal water, sewer, gas, or other utilities. In some places not being on the grid is illegal. So, is privacy illegal? Can iPhone users live ‘off the grid’ of government search and expect reasonable personal privacy?
A Right? Or, A Privilege?
That brings up the question, ‘Is privacy a fundamental right?‘ Or, put another way, ‘Is privacy a privilege afforded only to those who can afford it?‘
None other than FBI Director James Comey thinks that privacy offered by Apple on iPhones using iOS 8 is a bad thing and should be stopped.
Why? Because Apple (and Google) are making smartphones that cannot be searched by the government. As expected, government officials think that’s dangerous. Why?
To help us maintain a safer place to live in in a dangerous world, the government wants the right to search everything in our digital lives– even before a crime has been committed.
In other words, government officials want to monitor citizens in every way possible to ensure that any planned wrong doing could potentially harm citizens by implementing a ‘pre-crime search.’
The argument seems to be that Apple customers who use iPhones that are, in essence, ‘off the grid‘ of government searches, and potentially dangerous to the rest of the citizenry.
Does anyone else see a similarity between that scenario and Minority Report?
Living ‘off the grid‘, in whatever sense, should be a fundamental human right. And if that means keeping our personal information ‘off the grid‘ of surveillance– personal privacy– so be it. Government monitors can argue to the contrary and often with compelling evidence, but in response, I ask this question, ‘Who monitors the monitors?‘
In a democratic society isn’t it both the right and obligation of the monitored to also monitor the monitors?