Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Privacy vs Security

Many, particularly politicians, are fond of saying, "We must balance privacy with security." That phrase really irks me and I have said on this site before that there is no balance of privacy with security. Thanks to this article about by a law professor about his new book on the topic, I'd like to amend my position:
There is no balance of privacy with security if due process and rule of law are ignored.
 Professor Daniel Solove points out that a false argument in this debate is that security is all-or-nothing.
Rarely does protecting privacy involve totally banning a security measure. It’s not all or nothing. Instead, protecting privacy typically means that government surveillance must be subjected to judicial oversight and that the government must justify the need to engage in surveillance. Even a search of our homes is permitted if law enforcement officials obtain a warrant and probable cause.
I have to agree. The privacy-security balancing act bothers me because I read between the lines and know what it really means: You must give up your privacy so that we can have illegal security. Not true. I only give up my privacy (1) willingly or (2) when I have committed a crime.