Re: Privacy and Law Enforcement

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 08:41:37 -0400

"Ross A. Finlayson" wrote:

> Hello again extropians list,
> I'm writing again about the subject of privacy. In this e-mail, I focus
> on privacy and how law enforcement violates it.
> Law enforcement, defined, is the enforcement of laws of a country.
> Generally, limited amounts of persons have law enforcement powers. In
> the United States, law enforcement powers are a privilege, not any kind
> of right at all.

Untrue. Every citizen has the right to make what is called a citizens arrest, and refusing to be arrested by a citizen for an eyewitnessed crime is itself a fugitive offense. Not only that, but when you or your family are directly threatened with illegal force, you have the right, and in some jurisdictions the responsibility to first defend yourself and secondly to immobilize the attacker. Read the Posse Commitatus Act before you make any more such broad and incorrect statements.

> Today, by the unconstitutional laws that have soiled the law books of
> our country, "law enforcement", or shall we say, "illegal government law
> enforcement" agencies have some legally defined un-Constitutional powers
> to conduct illegal searches and monitoring of private individuals. This
> is, as stated, un-Constitutional, as well as: un-American, cowardly,
> base, "snoopy", ugly, un-American, and downright Orwellian.
> Now, I don't have any kind of problem with constitutional law
> enforcement only to the extent of protecting individual and civil
> liberties, ie, within its Constitutional domain. Anything else is not
> only not Constitutional, but base, cowardly, et al, as above.
> Privacy, to some extent, is a right. It is a right because of the
> consideration of some personal data as "owned". For example, if my name
> was Joe B. Katzenhammer-Bulwar Jr., and somebody started sending e-mails
> using my name to spam people, that would be a violation of my personal
> data rights. This illustrates incompletely that personal data is
> property. Others using personal data without permission is thus theft
> of this property and subject to civil and possibly criminal
> liabilities. Thus, while it is not covered in the Constitution or Bill
> of Rights as a specific right, it is a right under the umbrella of other
> rights. It is also noted easily that certainly no one else can
> establish any kind of right to use personal data without permission.

It is covered broadly under the 9th Amendment. All rights and powers not specifically enumerated to the government belong to the people. The 10th Amendment recognises that the residents of some states may choose to delegate more of these powers to their state government under their state constitutions.

> The ability to aquire and use strong encryption to protect the integrity
> of personal data over the Internet is thus, by extension, a right.
> There are issues with national security with respect to encryption, but
> that has absolutely nothing to do with illegal wiretapping and
> un-Constitutional, unethical, communications interception, and the fact
> that those things are illegal, unethical, and un-Constitutional.
> Back to "law enforcement in regards to un-Constitutional electronic
> communications privacy invasions", or shall we say, "goons", there is a
> absolutely no legitimate reason to circumvent the tried and true warrant
> and Miranda laws that assume the Consitutional "innocent until proven
> guilty." Thus, current government operations in these regards is
> un-Constitutional, thus illegal, and makes these government agencies
> civilly and criminally liable for said invasions of privacy.
> Acoording to the Freedom of Information Act, which might better be
> termed the "Freedom of relatively unimportant information act" these
> agencies also enjoy some un-Constitutional abilities to withhold what
> information they do collect, this is base, et al, as stated above.

Yes, due to some still classified sections of the National Security Act of 1947.

> Now, I am elaborating on these reasons because I see these actions taken
> by our government as travesties of justice and a shameful thing, and the
> government deserves absolute examination and disclosure. I plan to
> continue to, as I am able, expose un-Constitutional and illegal
> government activities and as possible encourage their cessation and
> dissolution. There is absolutely no Constitutional, moral, or ethical
> reason for our government to pay voyeurs to spy on us. Rather, they can
> pay us to voluntarily give some of our information.
> The lucre that keeps the grinding gears of government running each day
> is taxpayer money. Some of the tax-supported agencies are robbing you
> and all Americans of personal data, and they should pay for that and
> cease and desist.
> On the subject of law enforcement, there are brave men and women who
> each day protect citizenry and other good, Constitutional things.
> In regards to "goons" and privacy, there are illegal, un-Constitutional,
> institutional elements which should be abolished.

Should be would be could be......illegal offenses only end when a citizen takes the appropriate level of force to hand when presented with illegal acts. Don't expect the courts to protect you from anything but the most gross offenses.

Mike Lorrey