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Privacy is now really dead

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The possibility and, indeed, the right to legal and safe abortion in the United States is at the Supreme Court coffee shop. This concern deserves central and central attention as many women and families struggle with the consequences of this decision in their lives, especially in states where restrictive or anti-abortion laws are already in place.

Confidentiality as a legal and cultural concept also hangs in the balance.

This elusive but significant concept once defined for two generations at least legal law throughout the United States. It is necessary to reconsider that this right was and will be lost, not only for the right to abortion, but also for something dear to all of us in a democratic republic.

Many historians and legal commentators have noted that as both the market and technology increasingly encroached on traditional cultural norms of particularity that understood mostly the middle class from the 19th to the 20th centuries, advocates sought to establish privacy as a legal right. “The right to remain calm,” as Louis Brandeis saw it, or, as the legal scholar Proser puts it, defects such as “public disclosure of private facts” or “false light.” Under state law, these offenses had varying degrees of success during the first half of the 20th century, but nonetheless contributed to the rise of common privacy issues that reached their apogee in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Two Supreme Court cases represent this height: the 1967 U.S. v. Katz, on particular in electronic communications, and Rowe v. Wade. In the first case, the court overturned a 1928 decision that did not recognize the right to privacy by telephone. This right not only defined a “reasonable expectation of confidentiality” in electronic communications, but also bequeathed the 1968 Crime and Safe Streets Control Act, widely known as the first federal law on wiretapping, immortalized in thousands of carefully designed television and film procedures. as law enforcement should use courts and protocols to eavesdrop on people’s phone conversations.

Six years later, the court based its decision in the Roe case on the same right. This legal hook was both a strength and a weakness of the decision. Beginning with contraceptive cases in the mid-1960s, the right to privacy made real sense for people who did not want “police in their bedrooms” as they did not want the police to have unlimited potential to eavesdrop on their phone conversations. For the originalists, the absence of the word “privacy” in the Constitution was a call to abolish it. For most people, something still seemed true to the concept: an area of ​​personal experience and activity not burdened by power.

We are now witnessing the removal of these rights. In 1986, Congress updated the law on wiretapping and created the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a law that has worsened the protection of U.S. citizens and both technology and the market (read: Internet companies such as Google and Meta / Facebook) have deteriorated. everything but nonsense. The decision to abolish Roe would have the same effect on reproductive freedom, effectively ending the “right to privacy” in matters of family planning and possibly its descendants in same-sex marriages. (It remains to be seen whether the additional constitutional hook of equal protection introduced in the Casey case in 1992 will withstand the pressure of this court.)

Adverse effects on our lives cannot be missed. In virtually every area of ​​American life, from the bedroom to the boardroom, the telephone to the Internet, there is little to prevent the government or the market from monitoring, invading, and encroaching on both the intimate and the mundane. Government and exhibition data have a complete picture of us as individuals and consumers, giving the saying that they know more about us through predictive algorithms than we know about ourselves. Whatever our founding fathers thought of “private life,” Bill’s superficial understanding of rights serves as proof that this was not the case. While proponents of choice are reorganizing the legal approach to legal and medically safe abortion, we could take this opportunity to consider where we have virtually no privacy rights in almost every area of ​​our lives. It is time for a very serious reassessment of what privacy in a democratic republic means or should mean for our personal experience, as well as voting and trade. May this crisis be an opportunity to review and update electronic communications, consumer laws and, yes, reproductive freedoms and personal opportunities. “Privacy” can be a rose under any other name, but as you want to call it, we need it to live a democratic life. I shudder at the thought of what the lives of my children and grandchildren will be like in the next two generations without it.

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