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Government Privacy The Internet

Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Surveillance 133

Posted by timothy
from the fine-words-butter-no-parsnips dept.
Max_W writes "Here is the text of Article #12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 'No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.' U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday 'While concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the exceptional and narrowly-tailored use of surveillance programs, surveillance without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risks impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.' Is it realistic to expect the compliance with this article from the world's major players in the age of large storage disks, fast networks and computers? Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous? Then what to do with the Article #12? Shall it be 'intentionally left blank'? Shall it be updated to a new wording? What words could they be?" In the U.S. and the EU, government bodies are fond of coming up with domain-specific bills of rights, not so big on publicly striking out the various guarantees.
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Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Surveillance

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  • Two way street (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:27PM (#44271701) Journal

    They want to make our lives transparent. We have to do the same to theirs. The state must live by the same rules as its subjects.

    • Re:Two way street (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:39PM (#44271755) Homepage

      The state must live by the same rules as its subjects.

      Not that I'm disagreeing in any way, but if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

      • by jcr (53032)

        if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

        So, what's the down side?

        -jcr

        • by icebike (68054)

          if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

          So, what's the down side?

          -jcr

          One World Government = One World Tyranny.

          We are closer to that than you think.

          • by khallow (566160)
            One world government != no state. I don't buy that a really transparent state means no state. You need certain mundane tasks performed such as law enforcement and disaster recovery. Even if you don't want the state doing those things directly, it makes a good coordinator for such efforts.
            • Re:Two way street (Score:4, Interesting)

              by icebike (68054) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:33PM (#44272033)

              No Government = Tyranny as well.

              A situation of "No Government" can not exist, except perhaps in the plant world.

              Whether its hives of ants, packs of wild animals, or bands of humans, some form of organization and regulation will come into being.

              Because there is no other way on this planet. We have not evolved, and probably never will, to a state where there need never be some form of government if for no other reason than to manage infrastructure and to keep people from being at the total mercy of the biggest bully.

              My point is that One World Government is a horrible idea. Alternatives are good. Being able to vote with your feet is the last refuge.
              But as horrible as that might be, no government is worse. Even anarchists appeal to the law when their lives are threatened.

              • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Insightful)

                by meta-monkey (321000) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:01PM (#44272123) Journal

                Well gee, "no government" seems to be a bad idea, and "total government" seems to be a bad idea, I wonder if there might be something in the middle?

                Perhaps, I don't know, a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people?

                I know, crazy talk. Let's go back to flailing widely between equally intolerable extremes.

                • a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people

                  There is a contradiction in your requirements. Even "limited and specifically enumerated powers" will inevitably infringe people's unalienable rights. The best you can do, short of giving up on government in general, is try to keep that infringement to a minimum.

                  Anyway, you don't need government to provide for common defense or to mediate disputes peacefully. You only need government to force people to participate in your particular arrangement for defense or mediation, which in both cases completely misses

                  • ...which in both cases completely misses the point of defending people and peacefully mediating disputes by making the defender/mediator the aggressor which other must defend themselves against.

                    I have seen now, what I would have to become to stop men like him. - Dark Knight

                • by tqk (413719)

                  Perhaps, I don't know, a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people?

                  It's been tried, and even that reasonable form of it failed miserably. If you concentrate any power at all in a gov't, no matter how many checks and balances you put in place to keep it honest, the criminal class will gravitate towards it and twist it to their advantage. It always happens. Not only that but even if you explicitly insist that the citizenry have a right and a duty to revolt against tyranny, most people won't want to believe the situation's deteriorated enough to need to. They just want to

              • by khallow (566160)
                You can say that, but your explanation is merely that "no government" is impossible, not that it is equal to tyranny unless you are choosing to claim that tyranny is impossible as well. That is, after all what equality means, two things that have the same properties to the point that they are indistinguishable by any means.
              • by C10H14N2 (640033)

                "My point is that One World Government is a horrible idea. Alternatives are good. Being able to vote with your feet is the last refuge."

                An excellent point, but that last bit ended with WWI.

              • We have not evolved...

                Correct

                ...and probably never will...

                Let's hope there's life after biology. It's our only escape...

                ...at the total mercy of the biggest bully.

                This is already the case. We are under an anarchy of authority that it limited in size only by internal bickering, but the corp/state is the bully.

          • by cjb658 (1235986)

            For better or worse, the United States *is* a world government, and that's because of our military. Usually, we use this power for good, but sometimes we don't, and that's what we're seeing with things like the NSA scandal.

      • Indeed, a state can not and should not be expected to live by the same rules as an individual. For instance, an individual enjoys freedom of thought [nytimes.com]

        But the loss of privacy doesn’t just threaten political freedom. Return for a moment to our thought experiment where I telepathically know all your thoughts whether you like it or not From my perspective, the perspective of the knower — your existence as a distinct person would begin to shrink. Our relationship would be so lopsided that there might

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          Indeed, a state can not and should not be expected to live by the same rules as an individual. For instance, an individual enjoys freedom of thought. [nytimes.com]

          But We're working on that.

          • Indeed. The secret wiretapping of private citizens by the state goes directly against that paradigm. Perhaps I should have clarified--

            A free individual enjoys freedom of thought.

            But I'm sick of people trying to equate the public and the private, and trying to apply equal rules to both spheres.

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        yes, there would be a state. we'd call that situation a government by the people, for the people. We need to get back as closely as possible to that ideal.

        "We the People of the United States, in order to for a more perfect union..."

    • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:05PM (#44271909)

      Yeah . . . No. I don't think the solution is to stab everyone in the eye so we're *all* blind. What we have to do is fight the invasion of privacy and blackmail.

      Also, what the fuck is up with all of these assholes talking about how we have to focus on properly balancing surveillance and privacy with the need for security? That's the most utterly bullshit line I've been hearing from people (especially the president) during the last few months. There are no concessions to be made. Yes, some times bad shit will still happen. That doesn't justify just wiping out everything that society (at least American society and government) is supposedly founded on. Sacrificing your principals to protect your principals is fucking asinine. Further, the president keeps spewing this bullshit about how his "number one job" is to "protect the american people" and "keep the country safe". The FUCK it is.

      Presidential oath of office:
      I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

      His sole job is to preserve (not change) and protect and defend the Constitution. Period. Not to change it. Not to violate it. Not to push programs that spit in the face of it. . . . but to uphold it.

      Yet, I have never seen or heard one reporter or one talking head anywhere under any circumstances raise this in response to the bullshit he spews.

      • "Sacrificing your principals to protect your principals is fucking asinine."

        This reminds me very much of the old argument against flag burning. Hey, guys, no, you did NOT fight to defend that flag. You fought to defend what it stands for. And the freedom of speech it stands for includes allowing people to burn it if they want. As ironic as that may seem.

        If I had mod points I'd give you 10.

      • Further, the president keeps spewing this bullshit about how his "number one job" is to "protect the american people" and "keep the country safe". The FUCK it is. . . . His sole job is to preserve (not change) and protect and defend the Constitution. Period. Not to change it. Not to violate it. Not to push programs that spit in the face of it. . . . but to uphold it. Yet, I have never seen or heard one reporter or one talking head anywhere under any circumstances raise this in response to the bullshit he spews.

        Looking at the Presidential oath, I show in bold below the portion of the oath that you say is the President's job.

        I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

        Unfortunately you've left something out, a big something that I show below in bold

        I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

        The two sections are linked with an "AND," they are two different clauses. There are two different aspects of the President's job. Other than the court system, practically everything that the government does that an ordinary citizen would encounter falls under the purview of the Executive branch, of which the Pr

        • by dryeo (100693)

          The amendments supersede Article II section 2. In other words the President is not constitutionally allowed to break amendments 1 and 4, even to use his chief of staff powers. Same thing with prosecuting Snowdon, amendment #1 says that congress can not pass a law denying his freedom of speech and the 14th amendment extends it to all parts of government
          Need powers to protect national security? Pass an amendment allowing laws abridging freedom of speech rather them just hand waving away fundamental parts of t

        • Re:Two way street (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sabriel (134364) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:31AM (#44274473)

          I had modded up the post you replied to. I was going to mod you up as well. I feel that both of you have a point. Then I re-read one line in particular:

          "If Americans are ever asked to give up voting and elections, or freedom on speech or religion, or many others, you will know that things have gone too far."

          Your voting laws deny universal adult suffrage and your elections are rigged (or at very least involve such incompetence as to be difficult to distinguish from malice). You have "free speech zones" and systemic electronic surveillance of the population. You have people being deprived of their effects, properties and liberties without due and Constitutional process of law, you have government officials publicly committing felonies without being charged, never mind tried, and you have a higher rate of civilian incarceration than China and Russia combined.

          Things have gone too far. Not ammo box far, not yet, but your soap, ballot, jury and moving boxes are all partially compromised. Yes, "cold fjord", you are correct that the President has not one but two primary mission objectives. However, "Seumas" is correct that the President is failing in one of them, and I would argue, per your statement, that he is failing in both:

          "he is responsible for seeing that the law is carried out, and that the government functions"

          The President needs to clean house. If you think I'm being overly dramatic, the US is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. I'm in that room, there's no exits, and I've seen what happens to those who upset the gorilla. They're fugitives or dead, and their neighbours are often "acceptable collateral damage". The consequences should the gorilla turn rabid, of that last box being opened, that ordinary people are even discussing opening that last box, should be on the minds of everyone.

          As an emigrant from the old USSR once posted (paraphrased): people rarely think about freedom when they have it.

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Re your link to the 2006 "It’s Legal - The solid legal basis for the administration's surveillance program"
          The joys of “inherent authority” for accepted foreign vs domestic intelligence thats drifts in as warrantless searches seem to be back in the news again.
          It is no longer 2006 or 2008 and the ability to pull another "state secrets" defense wrt spying in American will be legal fun.
          http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/07/state-secrets-defense/ [wired.com]
          The US could go for a legal https://en.w [wikipedia.org]
        • by Seumas (6865)

          Two things:

          First, you are breaking your oath if in your supposed execution of the office of the POTUS you are failing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. As you noted, there is a conjunction. It is not an OR statement.

          Second, commanding the armed forces to protect the country is NOT the same thing nor in the same spirit as this current and last president have regarded and used the phrase "my most important job is to protect the population". You simply can not take "command the armed forces" t

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's called "Reframing the Argument". By saying that we have to "strike a balance between surveillance and privacy", they've already got people thinking that they MUST accept some level of intrusion. The following dialogue between the people and the government is then not about whether surveillance is good or not, but about how much surveillance will be tolerated.

        The correct response from the people when asked about "Balance" should be, "Fuck off. We don't want balance, nor will we accept it."

        Unfortunately,

      • . There are no concessions to be made. Yes, some times bad shit will still happen. That doesn't justify just wiping out everything that society (at least American society and government) is supposedly founded on....

        Yeah but keep[ perspective. Do you think there are any assholes out there who would give up some privacy for safety? Because they think without safety, there is no liberty? Not do you think that's right, but do you think some people think it's right.

        Of course you do. And that's their opinion. And

  • by Anonymous Coward

    States have been constrained in their surveillance by technology, not by ethics.

    What reason is there for this to change now?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      States have been constrained in their surveillance by technology, not by ethics.

      What reason is there for this to change now?

      you can go pretty far without technology. usa could have started going through _all_ mail(you know, opening it with a letter opener and seeing if you're dating a black dude) and not just prison mail a long time ago if ethics department didn't say no. so ethics does affect it, even in usa.

      why do you think they took to making the surveillance in secret? because it's a tactical advantage? heck no, it's because public morality could have struck it down.

      even gitmo exists because they have some ethic rules they c

      • by meta-monkey (321000) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:10PM (#44272163) Journal

        Exactly. Technology has nothing to do with this.

        You're not secure in your home because your door is unkickdownable. Pretty sure doors have been kicked down since the invention of doors and kicking.

        You're not free to say what you want because tyrants have never figured out a way to shut people up. "Grrrrrrr those filthy peasants! If only there were a way to make them silent, like a sharp object you could poke them with until they were quiet or dead! Alas, no such 'pointy stick technology' exists, so I will have to suffer their insults instead."

        You have unalienable right to not have these things happen to you, which is why we consent to be governed only in way that does not infringe upon these rights. Hell, we can't even consent to be deprived of our rights. That's what "unalienable" means.

        This is entirely a political problem, and is neither caused by nor solvable with technology.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Exactly. Technology has nothing to do with this.

          You're not secure in your home because your door is unkickdownable. Pretty sure doors have been kicked down since the invention of doors and kicking.

          You're not free to say what you want because tyrants have never figured out a way to shut people up. "Grrrrrrr those filthy peasants! If only there were a way to make them silent, like a sharp object you could poke them with until they were quiet or dead! Alas, no such 'pointy stick technology' exists, so I will have to suffer their insults instead."

          You have unalienable right to not have these things happen to you, which is why we consent to be governed only in way that does not infringe upon these rights. Hell, we can't even consent to be deprived of our rights. That's what "unalienable" means.

          This is entirely a political problem, and is neither caused by nor solvable with technology.

          That is why anonymity is so important. While a tyrant has the power to burn down the whole village because an anonymous person who might be from there insulted him he can only do that so many times before one of the members of his royal guard assassinates him in revenge for killing his cousin who was a villager.

          Anonymity is the way to embarrass, or even harm, people who have power over you without repercussion. It is the great equalizer and that is why governments everywhere are working so hard to get rid

          • Indeed, and it is the same in public discourse. Ad hominem attacks are more difficult when there is no hominem to attack.

    • by durdur (252098)

      I think that is true, but there is not any fundamental reason why something that is technologically possible can't be prohibited by law. Nor any reason governments can't be made subject to the law. In the U.S., Nixon was about to be impeached over misuse of federal resources to attack and embarrass his personal enemies.

  • No. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    US tortures people, and you expect them to provide basic human rights? We have a long way to do before our government isn't just providing basic rights on a convenience basis.

    Maybe we can aim for some point in the future where maybe there is a chance that basic rights will generally be given to everyone (no exceptions!), but I don't see it happening here anytime soon.

  • Ah, Utopia! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by some old guy (674482) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:32PM (#44271725)

    Poor Timothy and Max seem to remain under the illusion that governments, any governments, really rule and act based on their bodies of laws.

    Governments have always, and always will, do as they damned well please till the next revolution. Then guess what? In no time the new boss is the same as the old boss.

    Why? Easy: money. Pure and simple. Just money. Power is a means to acquire and control wealth.

    Universal Declarations and Bills of Rights don't amount to jack diddly fuck if the wrong well-heeled toe gets stepped on.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Exactly. The idea of the second amendment is that the public can rise up and change things when their government turns against them. In reality, the government does whatever the fuck it wants and has the manpower, tanks, jets, bombs, guns, and nukes to keep doing what the fuck it wants and prevent any change. Even if half the country armed themselves and started taking things back (I don't know what the fuck that even means -- exactly who the fuck do they go after..?!), the military has the might to stamp i

      • "Even if half the country armed themselves and started taking things back (I don't know what the fuck that even means -- exactly who the fuck do they go after..?!), the military has the might to stamp it quickly back down."

        I am SOOoooo tired of hearing this bullshit. Because that's all it is. Half-thought-through bullshit.

        Listen, guy, your numbers don't add up.

        There are about 1.5 million U.S. troops.

        There are 300 million people in the U.S. -- that's 214 for EACH soldier -- and guess what else? There is at least one civilian-owned gun for EACH of those 300 million.

        With all their tanks and helicopters, the U.S. military would not stand a snowball's chance in hell against its own citizens. And guess what else? That's

        • by six025 (714064)

          There are 300 million people in the U.S. -- that's 214 for EACH soldier -- and guess what else? There is at least one civilian-owned gun for EACH of those 300 million.

          There are a lot of children, elderly and just plain incapable people included in your sums.

          • "There are a lot of children, elderly and just plain incapable people included in your sums."

            Yep. So divide it by half (you have to be pretty young or pretty crippled to not be able to shoot a gun).

            That still leaves the soldiers outnumbered 1,000 to 1.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          It won't ever be 300 million vs 1.5 million. It'll be 100 million vs 100 million with the other 100 million being undecided. Perhaps a 100 million conservatives against a 100 million liberals or perhaps some other labels with the divider being something stupid like gay marriage. The troops will be indoctrinated and mostly side with the government, whichever side it is.

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          A soft military takeover could work if you zone up the country and focus on trouble areas/people and buy off larger zones with comforts like clean running water, power, gas, heating, food, the internet, medical care, timely unemployment benefits and dont go after drug use.
          Even the offer of been "good" for ongoing property protection from looters can work wonders.
          Stay home and you keep your arms as a hunter/collection with a new license - no problem at all.
          Found outside its a death squad and if you surviv
      • I think if we got to the point where they were turning out the troops and tanks to put down armed rebellions, even the common man might start to ask how this is different than Tienanmen Square.

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          A local propaganda layer would turn the "protests" into a few people in the next valley, town, suburb, street been brought to justice.
          The public is rather desensitised to troops and tanks due to mil surplus been gifted to cities, towns, states and been in use.
          Troops and mercs "help" at larger events - would anyone really notice anything different?
          The optics of a Tiananmen Square can avoided with the round up of protest leaders, need for a permit and undercover work to spoil the event on the day.
          Video wo
    • by khallow (566160)
      Money only goes so far. You can rent power, but you can't buy it.
    • by GuB-42 (2483988)

      You got it backwards. Money is just a mean to an end, with no value all by itself.
      For money to be a useful to a government, it have to be backed by other powers : laws, police, armed forces, religion, etc...

  • Really it's pretty simple. The people who have the power to make the rules, also have the power to ignore that parts they don't like.

    In practical terms your "rights" exist exactly as long as your government wants them to. As long as government has bigger and better guns, more prisons, and runs the judiciary and police, you will have exactly as many "rights" as they find convenient.

    It's remarkably naive to think otherwise, and it has always been the case.

    (Cue the Americans who actually believe th
    • "Really it's pretty simple. The people who have the power to make the rules, also have the power to ignore that parts they don't like."

      Sure... until somebody gets mad enough to shoot them through the head. Which someone inevitably does, and always has done.

      Tyranny is self-limiting.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Instead lets purge those paranoid cold war relics and destroy the many spook agencies. Wipe out the black budgets. More privacy, more freedom, and more money for the budget. Nothing but win for society.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

    Is this really for the people, or is it designed to mostly be used to protect our glorious leaders from constructive criticism

    • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

      The whole statement of Article 12 is actually riddled with problems.

      What constitutes "interference"? The only precise definition of this concept I am familiar with applies to optics, surely they don't mean that?

      When is "interference", whatever that is, "arbitrary"? Many of the actions taken by federal, state, and local governments in recent years have certainly been wrong, but have they been "arbitrary"? What criteria do we use to determine when something is "arbitrary"?

      (I suspect most US legal professio

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:39PM (#44271753)

    We need to work towards making it technically infeasible to achieve the present level of surveillance. Strong end-to-end encryption needs to be ubiquitous. Real end to end, not via some intermediate web-based key holder. Emails, instant messages, and texts should be encrypted by default, no cleartext ever sent. Ideally, some onion-router way to hide origin and destination from the man in the middle should also be default, but I'm not sure how to make that work.

    We need to make 1984 harder for the fuckers. Right now, there's nobody fighting back, so they win by default.

  • No, just stamp "[deprecated]" on it.

    Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

    It would also be interesting to hear an new version of The Gettysburg Address, updated to reflect recent events. I'm not convinced that this "Of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff is really quite accurate these days.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

      Wow - welcome, old timer! It's rare to see people of your age on Slashdot, since you went to elementary school back when there were still actual constraints on federal government power (i.e., before the New Deal).

      Back in those days, some parts of the Constitution actually meant something. If the federal government exceeded its power, the Supreme Court would overrule it, because the Constitution explicitly says all of the things the federal government it able to do. If it's not on the list [wikipedia.org], it should b

    • by digitig (1056110)

      Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

      Because they didn't expect you to find out.

  • is paved with exceptions to our rights.

    That the big bully does it means that it is right now? We won't get targetted by drones [motherjones.com] if people from outside US does exactly what they are doing? This is a declaration of war against the world [washingtonexaminer.com] (their words, not mine). Whats next? Redoing pre-WWII discourse and taking invading countries where there are americans as something right?

    Privacy are the bricks over what intellectual property is built, one of the things that US push in every international treaty, agreement,

  • Privacy really requires an attempt to keep something private. If you send a letter, the fact that you sent it is obvious to any mail carrier or mail handler. Only the contents are protected. Similarly if you use a third-party MTA you're clearly handing off your correspondence to someone else and it's quite a stretch to imagine it's private. If you do things in public, visible to others, it's not private. Go home, pull down and close the blinds, and you have a right to privacy. Go out and do the same i

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      "This way no SRE techie at google will ever know who you exchange email with (unless it's someone using their services)."

      umm that's not how email works. better off using some other protocol if you want to keep the recipients secret and the guys are tapping fiber and know your ip to put in the tap filter block..

    • Privacy really requires an attempt to keep something private.

      This is an arbitrary, narrow, and very limiting definition. There is no reason we cannot develop a definition of privacy that DOES provide protection to individuals, even in supposedly "public" places. Alternately, we could simply redefine "public", as the definitions of "private" and "public" are fundamentally connected.

      For example, we might decide that one is in "public" only when a) one has consented to an interview, and b) a visible camera is present, and c) the camera is known to be on. In any other

  • Proof: one can arbitrarily extend the existing ones with "the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car". Which drives the whole concept of "human rights" into sheer meaninglessness. Hence: I call bullshit upon TFA. Any concept that can be arbitrarily extended is worthless. There is no such thing as "fundamental freedoms". Any freedom extant is a freedom conquered, gained by struggle or simply taken. There is onl
    • by khallow (566160)

      Proof: one can arbitrarily extend the existing ones with "the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car". Which drives the whole concept of "human rights" into sheer meaninglessness.

      What do you mean "can arbitrarily extend"? If we don't actually arbitrarily extend human rights, then it appears to me that your proof, such as it is, fails because the premise isn't satisfied. And in practice, we don't arbitrarily extend human rights to whatever the flavor of the day is.

  • There is none. Rights *always* get trampled.
  • We must choose. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:12PM (#44271949)

    We're full of "universal" rights and whatnot... but fail to live up to them. Or rather, our politicians. The bureaucrats... play their little games. Or not so little, as the case may be.

    If we don't want them to run rampant, we as the world's peoples need to take a stance. Do we want ubiquitous surveillance? Then do nothing. Do we want to have something of a private live left? Well, there's work to do. And some very unpalatable questions to find suitable answers to.

    Our technology is so powerful that "because we can" is no longer a valid reason. We must choose what we want our technology to do. And to choose, we must understand the consequences of what our technology can do, and what it means to willingly forego some or all of the things it might have done. In extreme cases you can even portray this as trading saved lives, caught terrorists, convicted child pornographers, agains having some privacy left.

    And so we must come up with answers to questions like, how many lives is privacy for all worth? How many abducted little girls may be allowed to die for not having to justify every step you take? Because, again, that is how the snoopers will portray it. And so we must answer, or find more reasonable ways to frame the same question. That, or lose the fight before it started. In a sense, we already lost while we were ignorant and we must now claw back what was once rightfully ours. From the jaws of those who claim to protect us (from privacy and liberty, but I digress). How much is it worth to you?

  • Quoth the Declaration:

    ... attacks upon ... honour and reputation.

    What exactly is an "attack"? Is it narrowly defined elsewhere in the document in a footnote? Does whistleblowing and every other form of criticism qualify as an "attack upon honour and reputation" since justified criticism would certainly harm the person's reputation at the least? Will some non-judicial bureaucrats now be the ones meting out punishment to anyone who dares to criticize any one or any institution? Ummm... where's the improvement in that?

    This is bullshit. What idiot

  • by Macman408 (1308925) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:41PM (#44272319)

    The UN chief says that appropriate safeguards are needed to protect privacy - well they WERE doing a great job......until Snowden came around.

    Think about it - what better way to protect your privacy than by not even telling you that they're invading it? If neither you nor anybody else in the public knows that your privacy has been violated, then obviously it hasn't been, because it's being kept private!

    Then Edward Snowden came along and ruined the whole thing - simply knowing that our privacy has been violated means that it IS being violated. If it weren't for him, all our data would still be safely kept private (in the hands of the NSA).

    • Dammit Mods, that was satire, and intended to be FUNNY, not Interesting. That makes me sad...

      • by GuB-42 (2483988)

        Behind the satire you actually rise an interesting point, that's why.

        I think the point is best illustrated with this riddle (70 picarats) :
        100 married couples live on a remote island. There is a law on the island that states that if a man finds out that his wife is unfaithful, he must kill her that night and leave her body at the center of the island for everyone else to see.
        It turns out that all one hundred wives are cheating on their husbands. No husband knows that his own wife is unfaithful, but every hu

  • The question being posed: "Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous?"

    I then ask why are these supposed secrets of surveillance so sensitive if public knowledge of them is quaint and ridiculous?

    More like a total lack of bravery and just more of the same old race to the bottom ... and I consider myself an optimist!

  • Western NATO countries like Norway use surveillance as a first initial step against people who say anything which goes against government propaganda. Sabotage is the next and that's usually followed by torture. So keep in mind that surveillance is not the big problem here, they just do surveillance to find out who to target and torture for writing or saying the "wrong thing". Stop the surveillance of everyone and fewer people get tortured. You can debate if surveillance is a human rights violation or not, b
  • what you do online isn't private!

  • I think it would be good for the UN to recognize some general exception to extradition treaties for whistle blowing (acts of public disclosure of secret information). It would still remain an individual judgment call for nations whether to aid or grant asylum to whistle blowers, but there would be some recognition that such acts are sometimes justified. It would also reduce some of the hypocrisy coming from some nations, who, on the one hand are trying to score propaganda points by railing against the US, a

  • The UDHR is overly generic, contradictory and tries to regulate way too many things. The reason it doesn't get respected because it's impossible to live up to it, or even interpret it. It should be rewritten from scratch, containing only the basic natural rights, specified in a concrete, objective and consistent way.

  • Things used to be "written in stone", and laws and behaviour took appreciable periods of time to develop. In the computer age, we simply edit/overwrite and modify with much faster cultural impact. Society reacts quicker; corrects or makes mistakes in much shorter time periods. We may do well from this sooner than we think.
  • Current laws and corporate objectives are aligned against your privacy. You have the right to protect yourself, whether or not the law protects those rights. You need to make sure that your email, telephone, web browsing and Internet chat is encrypted and anonymous. All the tools are available to protect, all you have to do is install them. And as a responsible citizen who does not like crime, you should do so. Because you need to protect yourself and your family from those who wish to do you harm. Leaving

  • As we know, the government has a way with creative interpretation of words. In this case, they will simply claim it's not "arbitrary".

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