[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

AOC declares Democrats a 'center-conservative' party: We don't have a 'left party' in this country

MUST SEE LIST of President Trump’s Historical and Miraculous Accomplishments Three Years Into His Presidency

To ‘Make America Great Again’ Trump Added a $1 TRILLION Deficit in 2019—Just Like Obama

Innocent Man Tries to Clean Cop’s Windshield to Earn Some Money, So the Cop Shot Him

New Bill to Allow Cops to Detain Citizens, Force Them to Explain Who They Are, What They're Doing

NINE WOMEN WE CAN DO WITHOUT IN 2020

It’s Clear That Northam Is Praying For Violence

Illegal Immigrants Blocked At Border Pray For Trump's Defeat "I wwant trump out'

The Tractor Backlash

VA State Senator Goes Public 72 Hours Before Rally: ‘We Are Being Set Up’

Richmond 2A Rallygoers To Be Corralled Into “Chain-Link Pen” With Only One Way In And Out

ICE ups ante in standoff with NYC: ‘This is not a request’

Trump's Lawyers Formally Answer Articles of Impeachment

Cops Mistake Medical Emergency for Drug Use, Viciously Beat Man with Batons

Epstein’s Former Lawyers Picked for Donald Trump’s Defense Team

Adam Schiff takes on Trump, calling him an 'erratic hothead.' Now he's feeling the heat

Instead of Arresting and Jailing Drug Addicts, Police are Getting Them Help—And It’s Working

Award-winning Cop Arrests Musician on "Asshole Charge" for Cursing at him

Immunity Just Barely Denied To Cop Who Claimed Driving A Beat-Up Car And Paying For Purchases Is Suspicious Behavior

The DEA seized her father’s life savings at an airport without alleging any crime occurred, lawsuit says

Cops Violently Assault Grandma In Her Home After Granddaughter Cursed at Police

Minding Your Mood

DEMS TRIAL TRAP not allowing Trump to take office even if reelected (call Congress (202) 224-3121)

California drivers aren’t paying traffic fines. Here’s what Gov. Newsom plans to do

Police: Couple lured thieves with unattended bike, then beat them with bats in videos posted to YouTube

Cults Queen of Heaven

Susan Collins Working with ‘Small Group’ of GOP Senators to Rally Support for Impeachment Witnesses

Pelosi says Trump ‘impeached for life’ despite McConnell’s ‘gamesmanship,’ ‘coverup’

A Pimp, A POTUS, And A Plane

Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity, Dead at 67

Propaganda and Islam: What You’re Not Being Told

Atlanta Police Make Monumental Move, Disband Entire Drug Unit to Focus on Actual Crime

Electricity Mysteriously “Started Flowing” Through Norway’s Soil on Monday

Ohio Police Captain Gets Pulled Over While Driving Drunk; Officers Let Him Go Home

Tech Giant Doesn’t Want Anyone to be Offended … Ever (And Other Absurd Weekly News)

New Jersey Cop Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Money From Suspects

Come Home, America: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Wars-Without-End

It’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

The War Pigs Are Finally Revealing Themselves — And This Is Just The Beginning…

Magnificent Storyteller Soldier Reveals What He Saw In Vietnam

Russia’s Officials And Media Commentators React To The Killing Of Soleimani

Chelsea Clinton's dubious 'earnings' She made big bucks in chemicals and TV, courtesy of nepotism, not skill

Epstein’s Noose Contradicts Official Story of His “Suicide”

Pentagon sends six B-52 strategic bombers to military base on Diego Garcia

City Says Man's Giant, Semi-Ironic 'Trump 2020' Sign Is a Code Violation

UMass Amherst Removed a Professor for Showing a "Downfall" Hitler Parody Video

Stampede kills 40 at funeral for Iran general killed by US

Bolton's willingness to testify in Trump's trial ramps up pressure on Senate Republicans

The Climate Change Sham!

Don't Believe Mike Pence's Spin About Iran and 9/11


Status: Not Logged In; Sign In

Opinions/Editorials
See other Opinions/Editorials Articles

Title: Privacy Is Over. We Must Fight Harder Than Ever To Protect Our Civil Liberties.
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/2019/10/05/priva ... o-protect-our-civil-liberties/
Published: Oct 6, 2019
Author: Katherine Mangu-Ward
Post Date: 2019-10-06 04:44:53 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 61

topicsfuture

June 9 protests, Hong Kong (Hf9631/Creative Commons)

Once upon a time, privacy was everyone's default setting. Imagine an era when most letters and ledgers existed only in a single hard copy, when long-distance communication was slow and unreliable, when unpickable locks existed and cameras didn't.

These are the conditions under which America's founding documents were written. It was far from a golden age, but there were undeniable upsides to a government that had neither the technology nor the resources to know what most people were up to most of the time.

Those days are done. Privacy is dead. We have killed it, you and I.

It happened slowly and then all at once, much like falling in love. We traded away some of our privacy for convenience, with credit cards and GPS and cloud computing and toll transponders. Some of it was taken from us while we weren't paying attention, via warrantless wiretaps and IRS reporting requirements and airport searches.

I applaud the valor of those who are fighting the rearguard action on privacy, making it their business to blow up bridges and burn crops as the rest of us beat a retreat. There are still many good opportunities to slow the rate at which the state gobbles up all privately held information about our purchases and daily routines and inboxes.

I used to think there might be some way to erect a legal bulwark between the ravenous state and the vast troves of private data. I now think that is a losing battle, primarily thanks to the too-common eagerness of the firms we entrusted with our intimate information to hand it over to law enforcement without even the formality of a warrant.

So we cannot keep our secrets much longer. But there is still hope. A minimal state where civil liberties are expansively interpreted and scrupulously protected offers the best chance to preserve the sphere of individual liberty. It matters much less if the state knows everything about you when it has no cause and no right to act on that information unless a genuinely serious crime has been committed.

If speech and assembly and trade are not crimes—not punishable by the state—then the loss of privacy will be less acutely felt. This, in turn, is self-reinforcing. A state where civil liberties are robust and jealously guarded has little reason to install a vast surveillance network of its own or to force its way into private networks. There is little it can do with that information. It's a virtuous cycle.

In other words, while the fight for privacy is over, the battle for civil liberties is more important than ever.

Nowhere is this lesson more apparent than in Hong Kong this summer. For months, there has been riotous protest in the streets over a bill that would allow the extradition of suspects to, among other places, mainland China—a nation not famed for its commitment to due process.

In the Joint Declaration of 1984, after the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China, the city was promised "a high degree of autonomy." Among the protected rights of Hong-kongers: "those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief."

This list of rights is familiar to Americans and to other members of the Anglosphere and reminiscent of our own Bill of Rights. Under this regime, Hong Kong has flourished. But in recent years, China has looked for ways to assert its power and incept its authoritarian political culture into one of the freest places in the world. This summer's extradition bill was the last straw.

The technology of protest in Hong Kong is striking. The citizens in the streets wear helmets, masks, glasses. They move under cover of umbrellas, faces and gaits obscured. They buy their train tickets in cash. The getup is practical and it looks quite cool, but it is nothing less than a MacGyvered right to privacy, snatched back temporarily from the ascendant surveillance state.

Hongkongers pull down lampposts, which are rumored to contain a full suite of surveillance technology, much as Iraqis pulled down statues of Saddam Hussein in 2003 or Hungarians pulled down monuments to Stalin in 1956. Authorities in Hong Kong admit the lampposts have the hardware necessary for spying but pinkie promise that they have disabled the continuous audio and video collection, the license plate logger, and the facial recognition tools.

To protest under threat of extradition to China is especially brave. Hongkongers know well that China is ruthless in stamping out dissent, and the protesters have every reason to believe that to be identified as a participant in the demonstrations could be very dangerous in the aftermath if they do not win the day.

But it's worth noting that their demands do not include a rollback of surveillance; it's far too late for that. Instead, they are insisting on due process, transparency, and democratic reforms. What matters now is not privacy—the masks and umbrellas are a stopgap while the city is in a liminal zone—but civil liberties.

Civil liberties work together. They support and reinforce each other. The possibility that any person could be hauled in to the mainland on vague charges and never heard from again makes the fine language about all the other rights in the Joint Declaration void.

What is fascinating is that so many people in Hong Kong seem to know that and to be willing to fight for it. Some estimates place 1 in 4 Hongkongers out at the protest—a truly astonishing number when the consequences of participation could be so dire.

But civil liberties do not function as flawless interlocking clockwork, with each burnished gear clicking into place to power a free society. Instead, they act more like an ecosystem, with complex and sometimes obscure interrelations between the components, evolved over time. Sometimes you don't know about a crucial symbiosis until it's already too late. The relationship between the rights protected in America's First and Second Amendments, for instance, has long been debated. To give up a little freedom of speech, to stop protecting some gatherings, to abridge due process in the most extreme cases can sound reasonable. But it could also be the disruption that destroys a delicate balance and sets off a cascade of destruction.

Sometimes, though, the system proves surprisingly robust. This can be true even when it's planted in foreign soil or tested by a vigorous invasive species, as the example of Hong Kong's history proves.

This is why Reason is absolutist about the protection of that high degree of autonomy from the state guaranteed by Hong Kong's founding documents, and ours. This is why we return over and over to the idea that the best defense from tyranny is a small state with a limited mandate to protect against force and fraud. It is why we insist on the distinction between true crimes and victimless crimes. It is why we are constantly asking what the unintended consequences of regulation will be. It is why we favor devolution and self-governance. It is why we demand transparency and fairness from our criminal justice system.

When the state can see everything—and it can, or will be able to quite soon—the only way to preserve a free society is to shrink the government's purpose and constrain its powers.

If Hong Kong is China's best-case scenario for personal freedom, the Uighur areas in the west are the worst case. The country's ethnically separate Muslim population now resides in an open-air prison, with mandatory facial scan checkpoints, tracking software forcibly installed on every phone, and concentration camps for the noncompliant.

The Uighurs are at the terminus of authoritarianism. They have lost even the right of exit. They cannot retreat to the mountains or smash their phones or wear a mask or emigrate. Hong Kong is fighting tooth and nail to avoid the same fate. So must we.

(2 images)

Post Comment   Private Reply   Ignore Thread  


[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

Please report web page problems, questions and comments to webmaster@libertysflame.com