Historically, the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution have been referenced in the U.S. Supreme court when discussing this sticky issue. One thing the courts have allowed in the past is that somewhere in our lives at some point, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
It’s determining the judicial-or legislative-boundaries of the right to privacy when dissension rears its head.
The truth- as is the problem with all unenumerated rights- is that the vagary that allows them to be claimed as rights by the States or the People is the same vagary that proves to be those rights’ undoing.
To put it simply: since it’s not written specifically, it really doesn’t exist.
I really began to truly understand this just yesterday. A co-worker pointed out that Denver city government keep all basic court case information online and completely accessible.
Let me preface the rest of this diatribe with this: I believe in the Colorado Sunshine Law as well as the Freedom of Information Act. I believe that all court cases need to be open record and readily available to the public.
Just not utterly convenient.
The double-edged sword of the Internet has now allowed that anyone armed with a name and a reasonably good guess of a person’s age can pull up their rap sheet with a couple of mouse clicks and key strokes. There used to be a time, not long ago, when I had to drive my ass downtown, find parking at a meter two blocks away, hike to the city and county building, face down a stern and disapproving public information officer and pony up $7 to pull a rap sheet.
I use to bitch and moan the whole time about how Denver needed to join the 21st century and get online.
Now I realize that those simple obstacles where the last, slim bastions against violating the “right to privacy.” Convenience of access alone effectively sounded the death knell to that particular liberty.
Thankfully, the only things available on this database under my name are my traffic offenses. None of my more misguided youthful transgressions are there. Other of my friends are not so lucky. Should another employer choose to make a quick check, that one time that guy got caught peeing behind a dumpster and ticketed for it could cost him a job. One momentary lapse in judgment, regardless of how small, is not only a part of his permanent record, but all anyone needs to pull it up is a computer and a phone line.
There is no right to privacy.