Debate Series: Stone Offers A Proposal
I don’t agree that the public “has already surrendered much of its communicative privacy by its profligate use” of modern means of technology that “create essentially indelible records” of our communications, purchases, etc. Certainly, it’s true that most people have embraced cells phones, email, and the internet without paying much, if any, attention to the extraordinary invasions of privacy they make possible. But this will change once people come to understand how vulnerable they are. It’s a bit like electronic bugging and wiretapping in the first half of the twentieth century. It took fifty years for courts and legislatures to begin regulating such conduct, but once people realized the danger, government electronic surveillance was declared unconstitutional and private electronic surveillance was declared unlawful. The same will happen with respect to the modern means of communication. Once people recognize the danger, they will insist on regulation. So, I wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that the public has “surrendered” its privacy. We are merely in transition.
(again, rest of Stone and response from Posner after the jump)