Thursday, February 21, 2008

Privacy.....what Privacy?

In chapter three America's First Information Revolution, Starr goes into depth about the Constitution and its meaning to society prior to the American Revolution. In Starr's "sub chapter" "Privacy and Public Knowledge", Starr begins to speak of the people's "right to privacy". He comments on how revolutionaries did not ask for this right, but would soon realize how important it would be.

"Although the revolutionaries did not speak of a "right to privacy", one of their complaints against British rule was intrusion of their dwellings and use of general warrants.....the general warrant had a long historical association in Britain with the attempt to control communication".
This quote describes the British government's way of controlling what they felt would be a theat to the aristocracy and parliment. This to me is also one of the first real examples of "censorship". If I were a printer at the time and was critical of the British rule and made that apparent in the papers, the govenment could run into my place (or place of business) and destroy my printer as well as any material that they felt was against the powers that be. Even years ago when "political revolutionary journalist"(who were writers for left leaning papers/mags) spoke against the injustices of the police in the African American community (police brutality), police without warrant would raid these individuals homes while destroying their property in the process. This is against the constitution that states an individual has right to his/her privacy and once one violates that space, they have broken the written law.


At 4:13 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and choice of quotation. Try to delete big blocks of empty space from your post, it makes it hard to read the blog.

You have raised a good point here. The right to privacy written into our constitution was a defense against unwarranted search and seizure as it had been practiced by the British.

Just because the right is written into the constitution does not mean that it has always been observed. The extent of this right to privacy is still being debated and negoiated in the courts and legislatures. This is a key media issue. How far does this right extend in your use of the mass media? Should government know which books you take out from the library? Which newspapers you subscribe to? What you downloaded yesterday?


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