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Privacy — or lack of it — in the news

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webmaster | 07/10/14

One thing we have learned from the story of Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia idiot who locked his son, Cooper, in a hot SUV in a parking lot, is that any hope he may have had of privacy before his son died was in vain.

The same is true of those of us who don’t lock their babies in cars and just go about our business.

That is, if we go online, use social media or email. If we bank online, shop online, watch movies online, play games online ... our privacy is toast.

If we use cell phones, we have no hope of privacy. Every call we make or receive is archived and is retrievable. Yes, the Supreme Court decided police needed a search warrant to search one’s cell phone, but the ease with which a cell phone’s contents can be forensically dissected is breathtaking.

In the case of Harris, who is facing murder charges in Cobb County, Georgia, over his son’s death, police almost instantaneously learned once they began investigating him that he lived a double live online and loved pornography. He chatted up under-age girls on line. Police also found that he and his wife, Leanna, had researched children dying in hot cars online.

We recently learned that Facebook used the private information of its users to conduct psychological experiments without the knowledge of those users. Each time that happened amounted to a violation of the 4th Amendment, but oddly, nobody seems to mind.

Cell phone video clips taken in public places are passed around online like flu bugs.

Those who use the Internet for pornography may think their visits to porn sites are private, but they aren’t. The people operating those sites make sure the information you feed them is sold down the line to other pornographers, and suddenly your mailbox is full of filth.

Nude photos of yourself, posted on Instagram or Facebook, or sent as messages on your cell phone have all the privacy of a billboard on Highway 99.

It all makes old-fashioned snail mail and hard-wired phones seem desirable when privacy is expected.


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