U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Let me tell you right off the bat that I’m not a fan) thinks that the whole “privacy” issue is silly. Well, he made comments that questioned whether we need more protection of private information. You know, in light of the whole interwebs ‘n stuff.
So a law professor at Fordham University had his students research Scalia and see how much private information was readily available (in previous years, the prof had the students do the same exercise using himself as the test subject). What was in the 15 page dossier the students put together about Scalia?
- Home address
- Home phone number
- Home value
- Food & movie preferences
- Wife’s personal email address
- Photos of his grandchildren
Oddly enough, it turns out that Scalia didn’t appreciate this, although I’m having some trouble understanding exactly why based on his comments about what’s an appropriate level of privacy for American citizens to expect.
Scalia’s statement about the exercise included the following:
"Professor Reidenberg's exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any," the justice says, among other comments.
In response, Professor Reidenberg said:
The availability of such information on the Web makes it possible for the government to conduct surveillance that otherwise would be much more difficult or even impossible to pursue through court orders and other official mechanisms, Reidenberg contends. And aggregation of various bits of information also can lead to more troubling use of the compiled information, he says.
"When there are so few privacy protections for secondary use of personal information, that information can be used in many troubling ways," he writes in an e-mail to the ABA Journal. "A class assignment that illustrates this point is not one of them. Indeed, the very fact that Justice Scalia found it objectionable and felt compelled to comment underscores the value and legitimacy of the exercise."
Yeah, privacy’s just silly and overrated. Unless it’s mine.
From the American Bar Association Journal.