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Cash Value 1/10 of a Cent

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the bearer-bond dept.

Privacy 183

goombah99 writes "It happens all-too-often that the govenment and companies negligently reveal citizen's private information on their websites. When collection of this information is something required by law there is an obligation to protect it. But is privacy a 'property' and does its loss require compensation? Wired news reports 'The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday over whether the federal government should reimburse individuals whose sensitive data was disclosed illegally, even if no harm can be proven. At issue before the court, according to privacy advocates, is how valuable privacy really is.'"

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The Issue (5, Insightful)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648635)

Privacy isn't a property - it is a privilege. This is evidenced by taking away certain levels of privacy from criminals... You can find out information about the location of a federal prisoner through the Freedom of Information Act; neighbors must be notified when some sex offenders move into an area - thus limiting their privacy...

I think the wording is odd in that statement. It isn't privacy that is a property, it's the information that is a property. Privacy is a means to protect that information, and failing to protect personal "property" that someone is required to provide is my issue here. Just as if the government required a key to your house and then made then available for duplication.

Re:The Issue (5, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648677)

Privacy isn't a property - it is a privilege. This is evidenced by taking away certain levels of privacy from criminals...

You're so right, and then so wrong.

Privacy isn't a right per-se, but it certainly is more than a mere priviledge. Privacy is a presumption that is often necessary for a citizen to enjoy their most important right--that of quiet and safe enjoyment of their own life.

And criminals are a horrible example of "it's not like property." We violate oodes of a prisoner's rights--that's how we penalize folk who break the law.

It isn't privacy that is a property, it's the information that is a property.

False, I believe. Mere information should be public domain--if I want to find out, oh, what your telephone number is, there shouldn't be any penalty whatsoever if someone tells it to me.

Re:The Issue (5, Interesting)

SeXy_Red (550409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648786)

I believe that privacy is neither property or a privilege, but a right. Like many rights, it does have its limits. In the US, you have the right to free speech, but, if your free speech infringes on someone elses same right, then your right is then taken away.

And criminals are a horrible example of "it's not like property." We violate oodes of a prisoner's rights--that's how we penalize folk who break the law.

So true, the criminals gave up there privacy rights when they commited a crime. A sexual malester lost his rights the minute he commited a perverted act, because his right to privacy would infringe on others rights to safety.

Re:The Issue (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648907)

Point of order: a sexual molester (you misspelled that word) loses his rights when he is *convicted* of committing a perverted act.

Re:The Issue (3, Insightful)

davidstrauss (544062) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649034)

A sexual malester lost his rights the minute he commited a perverted act, because his right to privacy would infringe on others rights to safety.

First, like another reply, the guarantee of rights is lost on conviction, not commission. That standard allows us to prevent convictions of murders in self-defense and other murky offenses. Second, the nature of something being a "perverted act" (by anyone's definition) is not a constitutionally-sound basis for a law (see Lawrence v. Texas). The basis for molestation laws is the harm to the molested person, not the act of molestation itself. Thus, what would otherwise be molestation in a consentual situation where both people are after the age of consent is just normal sexual contact. (Disclaimer: IANAL.)

Re:The Issue (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649461)

"where both people are after the age of consent"

This is something desperately needs fixed. What if both people are BEFORE the age of consent? I'm not even sure if that's technically illegal or not. In many states the age of consent was lowered for one gender by a year, making it illegal for someone who is the same age to have sex with another of that age. I generally think there should be something to the tune of a 5yr grace period. If two consenting partners are within 5yrs of eachother's age it should be legal, regardless of what those ages are.

Re:The Issue (4, Interesting)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648790)

Hrm...

I see your point, but I want to add some additional definition to muddy the waters...

Privacy isn't a natural right. I do consider it stronger than a generic privilege, so I would like to call it a governed right. That is, privacy may not be inherent to existence, but it should be to our government. Privacy is something I would rather not lose.

I concede on the criminals point. We do take away rights - governed or natural.

I still think that privacy is a method rather than an object. Some information should be free - indeed I can go to SuperPages [superpages.com] and look up a phone number or a name from a number. I can go to Google [google.com] , type in a phone number, and bring up a name and driving directions.

With the phone number as an example, I have the option to request a level of privacy - an unlisted number. Privacy becomes the mechanism by which you cannot find my phone number without having been granted certain privilege. The privilege to find an unlisted number comes with additional responsibility and, most importantly, accountability. This is where the government comes in.

The government knows your phone number. They know your social security number (hopefully), bank account numbers, your credit card numbers - all the pieces of information that you may wish to be private. If, then, we assume that privacy is a right - govered or natural - then the government must take steps to secure our information if we wish it so, and if privacy is a right, the presumption must be that we do wish it.

Re:The Issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649274)

Privacy isn't a natural right.

Come to that there are no rights inherent to existence... or inveresly all rights are inherent to existence. It ultimately depends on what you mean by existance.. wheter existence itself predicates the necestity of "a way things should be" rather than "the way things are." The latter we can genreal reach via the short cut of emperism, the former requires an alternate method.. and I doubt we'll even come close to a subtial answer through discourse in a dialouge set aside for that purpose alone, much less a tangent thread on slashdot (my thread, not yours).

Regardles as to what levels of privacy we can "rightously" say we are entitled to under natural law we can still say privacy is a right due to people under a goverment.
The goverment has never, and never will, be able to decide on what are natural rights. They can only balence the will of the people, the stablity of the goverment, and the stablity of the society. But within these constraints the goverment is able to allow for the creation of thin natural rights (that is to say they are thin because they are dependant upon the goverment's interprertation). These thin rights can be, and are, superceeded when they could potentaily cause too much distruption to the will of the people, the stablity of the goverment or the stablity of the society.
For example, under our law, we belive in the right to life. That is to say a human's life is considered important and one should not be able to take that away from them. HOwever this law is superceded in cases of self defense, war, or captial punishment. Like wise we have the "thin right" of freedom of speech, but this again is curtialed when we might speak out in hate, or try to give out business secerts that we learned improperly.
These thin rights come from the will of the people. And I would say it is defintily the will of the people to have a level of privacy (a resonable expectation that one's life is free from observation). But this thin right is balanced by the people's will (how much the general population thinks that an indivdual should expect to have privacy) the stablity of goverment (how effective will the goverment be if it can't observe a person's life to a degree), etc.

I'm really just using these as an excercise to try and get some thoughts out. I'm not nesecarly saying I think all this is right or true... esp. the idea that natrual rights don't exist. I believe they do... I just don't believe what the goverment might claim as natural rights, are...allthough I think they might start out that way within the will of the people. I'm also considering govemrent itself as an entity rather than the people therein.. that is to say no one person or group of persons is the goverment.. rather it is the laws, traditions, power, etc that defines it.

Blah, I'm too far off tanget.

later

Re:The Issue (1)

Bugmaster (227959) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649449)

I don't really understand the concept of "natural right". The only truly natural things are the things you can measure -- weight, length, static charge, etc. Rights are just conventions of behavior that we choose to enforce in our society. Fortunately, our society has more rights than some others -- however, that doesn't make it somehow more "natural". For example, an extremist Islamic society, such as Iran, would consider it perfectly natural that women should always be covered in cloth from head to toe; they see our Western dress codes as highly unnatural. You can find similar examples for pretty much any other right, such as free speech (USSR), right to bear arms (lots of countries), property (USSR again), and even right to life (primitive societies for sure, USA depending on whom you ask). The bottom line is, I just don't see anything inherently natural -- i.e., mandated by the laws of nature -- about our rights.

Re:The Issue (3, Insightful)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648817)

And yet different ownership of critical information is, to use a very cliched example, what makes systems like RSA work. You don't want the world and his wife able to get at your bank account. Only in a perfect communist state could information be free - and then only because it's valueless. There would be nothing to protect.

I like the point on rights as priveleges by the way. Only addition I'd like to make is that this only works because power is outsourced to the government. Personally, I find the most appropriate model for this sort of issue is to consider the government as a very large company. Then we can see that "rights" just represent power that hasn't left the hands of the individual yet.

Now there's a depresing thought...

Re:The Issue (2, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648867)

. You don't want the world and his wife able to get at your bank account.

I don't want, and I shold be able to prevent, anyone from _effecting_ my bank account.

If everyone and their brother knows exactly how much is in my bank account, but cannot do anything more then send me an offer for a short-term loan or a "special cash rate" for a purchase, then all of my rights remain intact.

Re:The Issue (1)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648886)

I was thinking more of things like account passwords. It's an extreme example, but I don't know of anyone who advocates making these public domain.

Re:The Issue (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649099)


If everyone and their brother knows exactly how much is in my bank account, but cannot do anything more then send me an offer for a short-term loan or a "special cash rate" for a purchase, then all of my rights remain intact.
I dunno if I'm being funny or serious, but I'd rather keep my information private and make life harder for spammers. Yea, that sounds much better than everyone knowing my business and being flooded with junk mail...

Re:The Issue (4, Insightful)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648820)



Privacy isn't a right per-se...

It most certainly IS a right. It is not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights but it is one of the most primary of the unenumerated rights as specified in the 9th Amendment.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Re:The Issue (2, Interesting)

BlowChunx (168122) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648891)

"Mere information should be public domain--if I want to find out, oh, what your telephone number is, there shouldn't be any penalty whatsoever if someone tells it to me."

My phone number is just information, but calling me every 10 minutes would be an invasion of my privacy. My home address and work address are just information, but stalking me (because you know how to find me...) is and invasion of my privacy.

We all have personal information, but it's the abuse of that information that is the issue here. And if the government makes it easier to collect that information, and it leads to abuse of that information, then the government is liable.

Re:The Issue (0)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648901)

Why do you need privacy? Do you have something to hide? You're probably a GPL user and criminal.

Re:The Issue (1)

ender's_shadow (302302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649479)

Information is not property (see the idea/expression distinction in IP law). Misappropriation doctrine comes closest to viewing info as property, but that doctrine is circumscribed by strong limits that intend to focus the doctrine on incentives to gather information. The "right to exclude" disappears as soon as the article isn't "hot news," meaning it's probably not really a right to exclude.

Re:The Issue (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648683)

Privacy isn't a property - it is a privilege.

It's not a privilege, it's an inalienable right. It's granted to you by your existance. It can only be taken away by due process or your own abdication of it.

Privilege implies you have to be a good little boy before it applies to you, and that it can be taken away at any time for any reason.

Re:The Issue (2, Interesting)

Gramie2 (411713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649086)

It's not a privilege, it's an inalienable right. It's granted to you by your existance. It can only be taken away by due process or your own abdication of it.

Makes it a rather alienable right, rather than an unalienable one. An inalienable right is one that cannot be taken away.

Re:The Issue (2, Insightful)

jnana (519059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649344)

so what you're saying is that there is no such thing as an inalienable right, since there clearly is no 'right' that has has never been nor could be taken away.

Re:The Issue (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649207)

It's not a privilege, it's an inalienable right.

Bullocks.

If you tell me your phone number, and I tell someone else, I have invaded your privacy, but I certainly haven't infringed upon your rights--and there should be no consequnece to me.

The government, of course, is a special case--but so are spouses, doctors, lawyers, and priests--who DO have legal authority to mainatin your privacy.

SHUT UP CRYPTO-FASCIST. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648694)

Go lick hitlers decaying penis.

Re:The Issue (1)

Master Bait (115103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648802)

Copyright your personal information.

Re:The Issue (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648868)

Copyright doesn't guarantee you privacy, just another avenue of recourse should your information be taken.

If semantics say (3, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648827)

because it can be taken away.. it's a privilege.
then why is it the death penalty flies in the face of our constitutional rights?

(your rights can be taken away too ya know)

Re:If semantics say (0)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649228)

because it can be taken away.. it's a privilege

No. IMHO, it is still a *right*. You choose to give it away, as in the case of a criminal. Or it can be violated, as in the case of an agency inadvertantely exposing it. But it is still a right.

Similarly, just because I can temporarily take away your *right* to freedom, by kidnapping you, does not make it any less of a right.

THE DEATH OF THE WESTERN DEVELOPER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648845)

The High Priests of the Bazaar

This paper presents a case against the open source movement and explains why the open source model does not work economically for the vast majority of those involved in the production of commercial software. There are several arguments against the OS (open source) model.

Open Source Doesn't Make Economic Sense For Most

The open source organization has presented a few cases that supposedly explain why OS works economically. However, if you examine the cases objectively you will find that the cases are flimsy and non-specific and do not address any specific concerns. They attempt to bolster their case by pointing out a few "successes", among which Caldera (now called SCO) and Red Hat are displayed as shining examples.

The real economic question of the OS model is how is money made, and who is making the money. Who is being rewarded financially for the enormous development effort? The open source initiative claims that there are at least four different models that allow someone to reap rewards. Oddly, it is not mentioned that it is not necessarily the people who did the development work that gain financially.

The four primary business cases mentioned by OS proponents are "Selling Support", "Loss Leader", "Widget Frosting" and "Accessorizing."

The first case proposes that money can be made via selling support for the free software product. This is by far the strongest case and is proven to work, for a few small companies. The two companies that are shown as positive examples of this business model are Red Hat and Caldera, who distribute and support the Linux operating system. What is never mentioned is that neither of these two companies has contributed significantly in relative terms to the Linux development process. Its important to note that using this business model, the people that make the money are usually not the ones who have invested in the development process. So much for the strongest case.

The second case is based on the idea that you give away a product as open source so you can make money selling a closed source program. This also can work, but it should be noted that the money is being made off the closed source product and not off of the open source. An example of this model would be Netscape, who gives away the source code of their client browser so the OS community can do development, but keeps their "cash cow" products completely closed. Obviously, this case may only work if you have a software product that lends itself to this sort of "give away the razor and make money on the blades" system. The truth is that the vast majority of software is monolithic. So much for the loss leader case.

The third case, "Widget Frosting", sounds completely practical. The premise that hardware makers produce open source software so that the OS development community will work for free to produce better drivers and interface tools for their hardware products. It sounds great on the surface, especially for the company that produces the hardware: they get free drivers and do not have to pay for expensive developers. The OS community wins by getting presumably stable drivers and tools. What is not mentioned is the reason hardware makers usually don't do this is because they do not want to reveal trade secrets regarding their hardware design. Production of efficient drivers requires an intimate knowledge of the hardware the driver is for. It is almost always the case that it is in the hardware developers' best interest to keep their hardware secrets close to home. This also brings up the question of why isn't hardware "open"? So much for the frosting case.

The final case, "Accessorizing", is similar to the first, but throws in the idea of selling books and complete systems with the open source software, and other accessories as well. It is obvious that selling books qualifies as support, and that it really belongs in the first case. The idea of selling computer systems, T-Shirts, dolls, again begs the question: "Who is making the money?" As with the first case, it is not necessarily the people who have done the development work. Additionally, the question of how much money can be made selling books, t-shirts, mugs, etc, is never answered. O'Reilly Associates is frequently used as an example to be a company who has made money using this case. The reader should notice that O'Reilly Associates are not the people doing the development work. Indeed, it is never asked why all the O'Reilly books are not available for free or at least at manufacturing cost? This also brings up the question of why isn't book production "open"? Perhaps they are waiting to see if they could sell enough O'Reilly T-Shirts to pay their bills. So much for the accessories.

Open Source Does Not Necessarily Produce Better Software

The open source proponents frequently state that OS necessarily produces better software. This statement is made without any evidence. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary. GCC is a standard compiler produced by the GNU organization. It lags its commercial counterparts in both efficiency and features. The reason behind is illustrates the largest weakness in the OS plan. It is very hard to convince qualified engineers that they should do such boring and unglamorous work without any sort of financial reward. The idea of throwing large quantities of people at the source does not work in this case, since there are not large quantities of qualified individuals available and willing to do such work for little financial gain.

Open Source Did Not Make the Internet Successful

Another statement made by the OS community is that somehow open source was responsible for the success of the Internet. The reason behind this is probably a result of the confusion between what is open source and what is an open protocol. It is easy to see that the foundation of the Internet was built on open protocols. This does not equate to open source, for the two are quite different. The vast majority of the machines on the Internet run on closed source operating systems running mostly closed source software, which communicate using open protocols.

Where Does Open Source Work?

Open source does work in certain cases. A good example of where it may work well is Netscape. The act of giving away the source to the OS community so they can work for free and produce a product that helps the sales of their server software was a stroke of genius and proved very profitable for the relatively few at Netscape. But is this truly making money off of open source? Isn't the money is made off of the closed source software?

Another example of where it does work is the aforementioned Red Hat. Red Hat has been successful making money off of the work of thousands of others who have contributed to the Linux operating system and the associated GNU programs that have shipped with the Linux distributions. The question is: do those who work at Red Hat deserve to be rewarded, or do the people who do the actual development work deserve to be rewarded? Should the money go to the few, or to the many? It seems that the High Priests of the Bazaar believe the former.

THIS DOCUMENT CAN BE RECOPIED AND REDISTRIBUTED WITHOUT RESTRICTION, HOWEVER ADDITIONS/MODIFICATIONS/CORRECTIONS SHOULD BE LABELED AS SUCH WHERE THEY OCCUR.
8:48 PM
The software engineering profession is dying in the Western world. What used to be a lucrative and fulfilling career is under pressure from open source and cheap offshore development. These forces have combined to ruin the industry. In this space I will present the evidence and discuss what we can do to prevent the destruction of the profession. 8:33 PM

Re:The Issue (1, Funny)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648848)

"neighbors must be notified when some sex offenders move into an area"

Weird... politicians always seem to notify their neighbours when they move into an area too...

Re:The Issue (1)

cypherwise (650128) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648850)

Privacy isn't a property - it is a privilege.
Maybe not so much of a privilege, but a right. If an organization (especially a gov't org) has information about you that could be harmful towards you if it fell into the wrong hands then it is that organization's duty to protect that information.

I think the wording is odd in that statement. It isn't privacy that is a property, it's the information that is a property. Privacy is a means to protect that information, and failing to protect personal "property" that someone is required to provide is my issue here.
Absolutely.

Re:The Issue (2, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648892)

The Supreme Court has consistently held that privacy is a right of Americans, guaranteed implicitly by the Constitution.

I agree with the Supreme Court.

Re:The Issue (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648899)

Privacy is a right. The fourth ammendment is often interpreted as including the right to privacy in regards to government intrusion. In addition you have a common law right to privacy, thats why you can sue for invasion of privacy. Although that is generally limited to photographing and recording your image or voice for commercial use without permission. Still federal law requires the government to not disclose certain information it collects about you and when the government violates its own laws you should be able to recover damages and be compensated otherwise the government will continue to make sweetheart deals with marketers who want to buy your information from government databases.

Re:The Issue (4, Informative)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648950)

Privacy isn't a property - it is a privilege.

The Fourth Amendment would tend to disagree:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Privacy is a Right, like the Rights to Believe, to Communicate, to Move, to stay and Fight, and to Own Property. These are enumerated specifically, and it was the belief of the Framers that they are inherent in being a human. They set forth cases in which those rights could be limited, such as for convicts, slaves, and in time of war.

The issue is not whether you have a right to privacy. The issue is whether the government, having already collected the otherwise private information, is free to pass that information on to others.

Re:The Issue (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649272)

Note the wording of the amendment however, secure in their persons (you're body), houses (your home), papers (your files), and effects (your property like a car)

It says nothing about information about you which other people posess and how that may be used

Re:The Issue (1)

jnana (519059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649364)

'Papers' sure sounds like information to me.

Re:The Issue (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649377)

That list is clearly meant to shine a light with a broad spectrum on privacy. Government is not supposed to be in our private lives.

But certainly, if the government is not supposed to compel us to divulge information to them, it shouldn't spread that information to others simply because it already has it. The damage isn't over when just one person learns the secret, but worsens as the information spreads.

jihad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648639)

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First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648643)

and I wasn't even trying! Woohoo!

hm, like most of Michael's stories... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648660)

nobody gives a shit

hmmm (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648665)

'The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday

I heard some oral last night. Fucking roomie getting his dick sucked by some fat girl.

I wish he had more privacy!

Re:hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648736)

Troll? sounds like mr moderator couldn't get laid last night.

Re:hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648832)

Did you know getting your dick sucked by a fat girl feels the same as having your dick sucked by a skinny girl?

Re:hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649412)

This is a common misconception.

There are two aspects to the question of how it feels to get your dick sucked:

1) The physical sensation.

2) The interpretation of the physical sensation, which combined with other things, ends up being your actual experience.

(1) above is certainly the same in both cases -- modulo poorer or better technique, and so on and so forth -- but (2) is certainly different depending on your 'state', which is of course dependent, in part, on the way you frame the event. The different way that you frame the events of getting sucked off by Heidi Klum or the fat chick next door will cause you to experience the events differently, even if the 'objective' physical sensations were exactly the same. Since there is no unmediated access to the world -- ask any cognitive scientist -- the fact that the physical sensation (as in nerves stimulated in your cock) is the same is irrelevant, because that is just one relatively small input into the recipe for orgasmic bliss that is the good bj.

Hope this helps. I'll be here all week.....

Tree falls in the forest (5, Interesting)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648674)

"If someone rummages through all your stuff, nothing's taken, but they find out information about you, (yet) you can't show actual damages.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a noise? Did some one ever come up with an answer to that age old parabole? If not, I don't think the Supreme Court any time soon will wrap its hands around an ancient Zen koan.

Re:Tree falls in the forest (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648737)

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a noise? My 2 penneth-worth: Yes, because the tree can't tell whether anyone's listening :)

Re:Tree falls in the forest (1)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648858)

And in this case the echo could start an avalanche. It's like giving out duplicates of someone's house key and claiming you haven't done anything wrong cos no-one's broken in yet. Especially now that this problem is in the public eye, there's a real risk of identity theft for these people.

Re:Tree falls in the forest (1)

Fancia (710007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649042)

Unless I'm mistaken, a sound is just a vibration until there's a listener to interpret it. Ergo, no; the tree falling makes vibrations unless someone is around to hear it. ^.~

The Real Question of Questions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649001)

So what you're saying with the tree metaphor is that if a crime has been committed, and no one is affected by it, why is it a crime in the first place?

If private information is released, and no one is affected by it, then why is it a problem to release private information in the first place?

This creates its own self-serving logic... which logically (and it doe smake sense) gives right to let the supreme court release what they want.

However, if it is a problem to release private inforamtion... then let's step back: why should government have this private information to begin with? Do they actually *need* these certain things? Control for the sake of control? Is technology and thirst for statistics driving the need for more and more details... which inherently run into the problems or corruption and misuse that we seeing arise in such cases as this article?

Whats good for the goose (4, Insightful)

ignipotentis (461249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648675)

Is good for the Gander... If companies can make money by selling private information, then they can lose it by releasing it publicy if they are not authorized.

Burden of proof and cost of recovery (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648986)

When the maximum an individual can recover is $1000, the value of trying to prove one was injured only makes sense in a class action.

But if each individual has to prove harm this becomes prohibitive. Say if my SS is left exposed for a few months on a web site, and later my identity is stolen. Can I prove that one caused the other? Not likely.

It seems like certain information shoul dbe designated as must-be-kept-secure and its very exposure shifts the burden of proof that no harm was done to the government.

Of course as a practical matter this could get sticky if one day say a server containing all of the SSN numbers were hacked or a disgruntled employee posted them.

Re:Whats good for the goose (0)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649284)

Wasn't it "One man's food is anothen man's poison"?

Gamming the system (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648678)

Suppose I
1. copyright all my personal data
2. put it in a database
3. ad a PGP signature to bring in the DMCA
4. Sue everybody and his dog who sells or distibutes said information
5. Profit?

Re:Gamming the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649229)

since this got modded up, I guess you're the 2nd biggest retard, not the first as I previously thought.

If someone hacked into your PGP signed db of info, you might have a case, but if the information is from elsewhere (like when you apply for a credit card), you've no case.

Re:Gamming the system (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649311)

But would the copyright still apply? Or is it impossible to copyright personal data? This would couse problems, as someone might sue the government for knowing their name.

Re:Gamming the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649376)

1. Anything you produce is automatically copyrighted; the information itself however is not, merely the expression thereof...

2. ...or the compilation, although database copyright is not a clear-cut issue.

3. A PGP signature does nothing of the sort.

4. Who? Very few people will go to all that trouble for your specific information. What the people who want personal data are after is large collections of personal data of a large number of people.

I think so (4, Insightful)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648679)

It shouldn't really matter if no damage can be proven to the people... I would think the Court should award punative damages to punish for the illegal disclosure, and hopefully 'encourage' them not to do such a thing again.

Another good article (3, Informative)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648701)

Check out This excellent article [msn.com] on Slate.com about Supreme Court arguments regarding a family's right to privacy after an individual's death.

It's also really funny.

Good for security (3, Interesting)

rastakid (648791) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648704)

I think this is a wise move, since the companies and governments will probably take a more pro-active stance for security. If security was already an issue in the past at a given company/government, they will probably do even more work to secure it even better. And those who didn't care about security, really need to start looking for some security administrators. Remember: money makes the world go 'round.

mirror (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648713)

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday over whether the federal government should reimburse individuals whose sensitive data was disclosed illegally, even if no harm can be proven.

At issue before the court, according to privacy advocates, is how valuable privacy really is.

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from disclosing private information intentionally, without the individual's consent, and provides for a $1,000 minimum fine if the individual is "adversely affected."

In the case, known as Doe v. Chao, to be argued Wednesday, the Department of Labor distributed the Social Security number of a coal miner who was appealing for black lung benefits.

Since 1969, the Labor Department has used miners' Social Security numbers as their case numbers on documents shared with coal companies, insurance companies and lawyers for all sides. Those documents also were published in court filings that later ended up in legal databases.

In 1997, seven anonymous coal miners sued, alleging the government had flagrantly violated the Privacy Act and put them at risk of identity theft.

Only one of those miners, known as Buck Doe, prevailed in the original case, winning $1,000 by arguing that he suffered emotional distress from the fear that the data leak would lead to identity theft. The government, arguing that the plaintiff needed to show real injury, appealed the decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and won.

Buck Doe argues that the leak itself causes enough distress to warrant an automatic penalty, even if the information leak never leads to financial harm.

Marcia Hoffman, staff counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which filed a friend of the court brief (PDF) supporting the anonymous miner, argues that Congress preset the penalty precisely because it is so hard to put a price on an abstract concept such as privacy or to prove damages in absence of others' misuse of that data.

"If your Social Security number is disclosed, there is a real potential harm from identity theft," Hoffman said.

Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, which was one of many organizations that cosigned EPIC's brief, argues that the outcome of the case will have implications beyond the Privacy Act and could affect future privacy legislation.

"The outcome of this case will make a general statement about how we value privacy in the United States today," Schwartz said. "If someone rummages through all your stuff, nothing's taken, but they find out information about you, (yet) you can't show actual damages.

"Yet something intangible has been taken from you, and what do we do to make up for that as a society?" asked Schwartz. "It seems clear to us from the history of the Privacy Act that Congress at that time wanted people to be compensated even for intangible harm."

The government, on the other hand, argues that the law requires citizens to demonstrate real damages from intentional disclosures of information.

In its brief (PDF) to the Supreme Court, the government notes that the Veterans Affairs department is currently engaged in a class-action suit over privacy practices and could be liable for a $168 million penalty if the high court holds that the 168,000 individuals involved do not have to show harm.

The government was joined in its opposition to the miner's claim by an odd ally, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The group's executive director, Lucy Dalglish, argues that if the government has to pay damages in the case of any improper release of someone's Social Security number, then reporters will not get information from the government that they need and are entitled to.

"In the spirit of releasing as much information to the public as possible, we think he should have to prove damages," Dalglish said. "If every time you release information about an individual, you are going to be threatened with this $1,000-per-record fine, you are going to have agencies so nervous that they are going to err on the side of not turning over something."

"Government guardians of information are going to be way overly cautious," she said, "unlike slashdot editors that just don't give a fuck."

The case puts EPIC in an odd position, as the group specializes in wresting e-mails and contracts from government agencies using the Freedom of Information Act. Just this year, it acquired reams of documents on the Total Information Awareness program and CAPPS II, the proposed new airline passenger screening system.

EPIC's Hoffman does not see too much of a contradiction in her group's position.

"There is no need, generally, for people's Social Security numbers to be released," Hoffman said. "These are things that (are) easily blacked out."

"Hopefully the (Supreme Court's) decision will decrease a little bit your risk of being a victim of identity theft," said Hoffman. "It will keep the government more vigilant about releasing sensitive pieces of identifiable information and make it easier for the average person to recover damages in the cases of privacy violations."

The court is likely to throw a kick-ass orgy later this month.

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648771)

"Government guardians of information are going to be way overly cautious," she said, "unlike slashdot editors that just don't give a fuck."

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648900)

So what? Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together knows that wasn't part of the original article.

Before they answer that... (5, Interesting)

PSaltyDS (467134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648715)

"At issue before the court, according to privacy advocates, is how valuable privacy really is."

...make it clear to the Judges, Lawyers, and Representatives involved that their decision WILL apply to THEIR personal data! I really believe they forget that sometimes. There was a /. article, which I'm too lazy to look up now, about a District Atourney who ruled getting personal data from someone's trash was not actionable. His attitude changed when a group of activists raided HIS trash and published what they found.

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insuficiently advanced.

Re:Before they answer that... (4, Informative)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649395)

This [wweek.com] might be article you're talking about: Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage--so we grabbed theirs.

The DA thought it was funny, the mayor and chief of police didn't.

Oh come on (4, Funny)

SeXy_Red (550409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648722)

My personal information is worth atleast 2/10 of a cent :P

Re:Oh come on (1)

Fancia (710007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649095)

But your personal information is preowned! Surely you don't expect me to pay full retail price.

Re:Oh come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649201)

My personal privacy is worth whatever someone who uses it to get unwarrented gains for themselves through my information is able to get with it.

this is stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648734)

what the hell? so, what it sounds like is that unless your a paris hilton or michael jackson, they don't really give a shit about you because you're not worth enough to sue anyone.

privacy is privacy and it should apply to all equally. who determines what the cost was? for famous person it's pretty easy to prove lose, but for the average joe, we're just fucked. fuck that noise

disclaimer: I did not RTFA

In america... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648742)

...your civil rights depend on for which company you work and what civil rights that company has lobbied.

1/10th of a cent? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648757)

Finally... micropayments!

Re:1/10th of a cent? (1)

npistentis (694431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648799)

1/10 of a cent... I can recoup my losses from ID theft by cashing in the 300,000 [cash value:1/20 cent] coupons I've been hoarding for all these years!

The value of privacy. (4, Insightful)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648768)

It should be fairly easy to place a dollar value on privacy. First we can geta value by looking at what marketers (or marketeers) are charging companies for your information. A list of 10,000 names and phone numbers can cost a mortgage company's telemarketing department tens of thousands of dollars. So, it's rather simple to place a dollar amount on the value on an individuals information. Compound that value with the multiple of times that the information was disclosed and throw in a percentage for damages and you find that privacy has a rather high cost.

And yes, they should reimburse people for breaches. Stupidity should definitely be painful.

Mod Parent Up! (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648999)

I dont have any mod points :(

Certainly he has just proven that the free market has already put a price on private information. And for things that arent legally traded such as SSN the government could put an arbitrary high value but not an extreme one, and of course the value of such data could be changed from tiem to time through acts of congress or executive order...

Re:The value of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649038)

You would fall way short of the actual damage with that method. You are measuring what the breach of privacy is worth to those who get the information, instead of what privacy would have been worth to the victims.

Say a marketeer is willing to give $50 to learn _all_ about your life. Would _you_ be willing to give it to him were you given a choice?

Re:The value of privacy. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649186)

But a slashdot account is not exactly "_all_ about your life".. why the AC? :)

Buck Doe? (2, Funny)

Colymbosathon ecplec (729842) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648770)

Ok, I know this is a serious matter, but did he have to pick "Buck Doe"? Sounds like a porn star for bestiality movies!

Having handled government Data before (1)

pbug (728232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648793)

I have came across people's Social Security many times. By putting a value to people's information you will hopefully decrease the leaking of this data to the world. Now the only question is what is the number we need to put on it.

It Has To Be Made A Property, For Sure (5, Insightful)

tds67 (670584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648873)

But is privacy a 'property' and does its loss require compensation?

Absolutely, unequivocally "YES" on both counts.

We live in an increasingly Corporate culture, where it's always "the economy stupid." We have become global Corporate citizens instead of citizens of any one particular country. Privacy is not respected by the machinery of business, and those of you out there who have ever worked with or in a Marketing department know what I'm talking about.

It took a law to put the brakes on telemarketers, and God knows what it will take to stop spam, if that's even possible. But by making privacy a "property" that has monetary value, we can finally put it on the radar screens of Big Business.

Privacy Act only applies to use by the Government! (5, Informative)

anti-tech (724667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648909)

The lawsuit concerns disclosure of a person's SSN. However, in a written response from my US Senator, I was informed that any company, anywhere can DEMAND your SSN as a condition for services, e.g. I go the the doctor's office and the doctor can require my SSN before seeing me, I apply for a lease on an apartment, the lease company can require my SSN as a condition on the application. There are absolutely no restrictions for companies requiring/requesting this information, and there are no regulations on how they must then safeguard it! I was told that if the kid cutting my grass wants my SSN as a condition, he can require it (of course this is a silly example, but is perfectly legal, according to current US laws. Either that or my Senator and the government websites I was directed to are seriously flawed.) Now, I routinely refuse to provide the info and challenge them to deny me service (with a crowded waiting room, etc), but it isn't a good way work with some businesses. (normally they just want the number because it makes it easy for assigning a unique number for their databases)

The privacy act applies to government use of our information, not private corporations. And the SSA told me while Congress passed laws governing the use of SSN, Congress never bothered passing legislation authorizing the SSA to enforce the laws.

If I can locate the document, I will try to provide the rest of the info, but I have to go take my blood pressure medicine.

Re:Privacy Act only applies to use by the Governme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7648967)

Laws are starting to tighten up with regards to what can be done with data. medical folks have HIPA, financial group have one, There however is not a universial law to cover data.

Hey will someone ask for my SSN, I give them my Special Society Number. works for places that think they need my number and dont.

Re:Privacy Act only applies to use by the Governme (3, Interesting)

ChrisKnight (16039) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649078)

Two weeks ago a position opened at AT&T in my area, with a set of skill requirements that was rather hard to find in my area. Consequently I received calls from thirteen different recruiters over a three day span. I was flattered.

Each and every one of them told me that AT&T required my SSN along with my resume in order to apply for the job. I told every one of them that it wasn't going to happen. (I only had to hang up on one for not being willing to at least accept my choice.)

A company can, and will, demand anything they can get away with. It is up to us to take a stand and tell them that we have a right to refuse to do business with them as well.

-Chris

Harm (3, Insightful)

MonkeyINAbaG (705327) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648910)

even if no harm can be proven.
How can you disprove harm in this case?
A social security number is an American's entire life and worth, as far as law and government are concerned.
Without it, you arent even a vote.

Privacy is a Constitutional Right (5, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648933)

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

That's article IX or the U.S. COnstitution. The fact that trroubling issues of privacy and technology didn't arise until 220 years later doesn't mean jack shit to me. Article IX makes it quite clear that the notion of a "Right to Privacy" must certainly exist. How dare anyone disparage my beleif that it is my right? The time is drawing near when politicians who ignore the Constitution and the judges who are bought right along with them, will have to account for their actions. And I'm not talking about violence here. I'm talking about a second Constitutional Convention. Something that strikes fear into the heart of every politician and every greed head in the land.

A Second Constitutional Convention [wikipedia.org] would do us a world of good. And possibly a world of hurt as well, but the medicine must be strong for what we've allowed this nation to mutate into. All it would take is a two-thirds vote of the states. The day is coming. It might not be right around the corner, but it is coming.

Re:Privacy is a Constitutional Right (1)

superman53142 (595405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649379)

A Second Constitutional Convention would do us a world of good.

Oh, please. The irony kills me; you cite how the current Constitution supports what you're trying to say, and how the current powers-that-be ignore it, and then urge people to support a new Constitution which would be written by those in power. A rewrite at this point would simply give those in power the ability to make their failure to follow the Law compliance with a new Law.

For the record, your quote is from the 9th Amendment to the Constitution, not the Constitution proper. It is essentially the equivilent of the legislative elastic clause found in Article I of the Constitituion, except it applies to the people. The 4th Amendment to the Constitution also plays into this debate, as it deals with the "security" of the people. Finding the text of cited passages is left as an exercise to the reader.

But who owns the info (3, Interesting)

panxerox (575545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648937)

since databases are now copyrighted, if a company collects the info don't they now own it?

Constitutional Right? (3, Insightful)

gradji (188612) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648974)

The amazing thing about this whole debate is that there is no clear constitutional right for privacy (at least in the U.S.).

Consequently, it is not clear what the basis will be for any Supreme Court judgement in this case. Usually the Supreme Court rules when two or more Constitutional rights are at odds with each other (e.g. 10th vs. 16th ... usually State's Rights (10th) is involved) ... or when a particular phrasing in the Constitution is deemed "ambiguous" (1st Amendment ... what is "speech") ... but neither is the case for privacy.

So a key question is whether the Supreme Court, through its judgement(s), can establish such an expliit right ... or do we require Congressional action?

Personally, I think we need more federal legislation and/or Constitional Amendments safe-guarding our privacy rights. In recent years, we've seen a piece-meal movement toward achieving such a goal (most notably, rights protecting student/criminal records) but it should be a concerted agenda. This will become a much more pressing need as the availability of sophisticated, cost-effective information technology increases. Can you imagine *physical* stores creating databases based on security camera recordings? It's not far-fetched (Vegas casinos already do it)

privacy is a right? (3, Insightful)

gyratedotorg (545872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7648976)

not trying to sound like a troll, but to all the people saying that privacy is a right, i ask you this: a right granted by whom?

fyi, the united states bill of rights [loc.gov] says absolutely nothing about privacy. neither does the constitution [house.gov] . a bit scary, but its true. look it up.

the 4th amendment to the bill of rights sorta hints at privacy, but its obvious that our forefathers could not even begin forsee the type of privacy issues we deal with today.

The 9th amendment bone head. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649063)

try reading past the 4th amendment mr know-it-all. the 9th amendment says that the billof rights is not an exlcusive list. It also says that the people grant themselves rights, not the constitution. So to answer your lame freshman question you dont need some king to have paternalistically "granted" you the right to privacy for it to be a right.

Re:The 9th amendment bone head. (1)

superman53142 (595405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649448)

One must remember that Constitution also contains an elastic clause for Congress, stating that they have the right to pass the laws necessary for executing their enumerated powers (See Article I, Section 8). In many cases, information about an individual is absolutely necessary for government to function.

It is for this reason that the case is a constitutional question; the Supreme Court needs to clarify the line between the privacy of a citizen and the usage of information about a person in functional government.

Re:privacy is a right? (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649112)

granted by whom?

It's an inherent right, subject to the same limitations of other inherent rights. You can

  • own a gun if you can afford one and agree to use it properly
  • speak, but don't be a public nuisance
  • believe what you wish, but don't do human sacrifices
  • have privacy, but a secret shared is no secret.

The issue is whether the government must protect your privacy after you'vre shared your secrets with them, since the government requires you to do so.

Irony (1, Flamebait)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649047)

Americans discussing rights!

Damages? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649066)

What damages are shown in cases of rape? What if, for example, I raped someone but was careful not to do any physical damage? I know that doesn't seem possible but just indulge me for a moment. Let's just assume such a thing was accomplished.

Now then, if no "damage" was done, was there a crime? You're damned right!! Something was done against an unwilling individual that made them feel quite uncomfortable and would rather you hadn't done it. It was without consent, immoral and while no "damage" was done, it was still a violation of that other person's will. In fact, asside from degrees of severity, I see no difference between the crime of rape and the crime of stealing, selling or otherwise abusing my personal information. When there is so much about a person that defines a personality, I have realized that anything as simple as a [portable cell] phone number is actually a part of a person's identity... as much as a person's address, place of work, the car he drives or the people he knows. It's a part of the definition of a person. Using and abusing that person constitutes an abuse of that person.

Is this an extreme opinion? Maybe... I don't know... it's a question of where you want to draw the line. But consider how uncomfortable you might feel about life if you knew something about yourself was out there somewhere being abused.

Re:Damages? (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649293)

This is a pretty good point. And somewhat of a sad one, too. Consider the average jail time for rape is something like 3 years (and in the majority of cases none), it just goes to show the real concern of the system, and this society in general. If there isn't a large amount of money involved, your ruined life don't really matter.

Sickening.

Re:Damages? (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649312)

The right to be secure in one's person (as enumerated by the 4th amendment) has been violated.

Compensation culture (4, Insightful)

zaphod_es (613312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649087)

It is about time that we all started to think about the question of compensation/damages. Far too many people seem to think it is a bit like winning the Lotto. That guy bumped me so I claim whiplash and a $1m settlement.

People should receive fair damages or reimbursement of losses sustained through the negligence or incompetence of others. It is not right that they culprit is "fined" and the proceeds passed to the victim.

If a Government causes damage by revealing private information it should compensate the victim even if it is only a token amount for embarrassment. If the misbehavior is so bad that it deserves a punitive settlement I see no reason for that to be paid to the victim. There are many better ways of distributing these windfalls.

If a department loses a chunk of its budget through malicious or arrogant disclosure of personal information it might start asking who was responsible and trying to prevent future abuses. There is no need to turn it into a get rich scheme and a honeypot for ambulance chasing lawyers.

ZB

contracts (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649123)

The value of the lost privacy is the damages, hard to quantify in terms of its replacement value, or even market demand. Of course, the actual acts that destroy the privacy have their own legal consequences. And of course there's the breach of contract when the keeper of your info unilaterally changes the rules, especially when that's secret. If the court represents the people, it will come down hard on these acts, but the Rehnquist court has quite the tight relationship with corporations, especially "direct mail" moguls like Bush politcal director Karl Rove.

Oh boy! What a payday! (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649126)

After companies sell my private information 50 times, I can manage to buy some nickel candy! Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

If it can be sold, it has value: "free" offers (3, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649166)

If my personal information can be sold, it has value and I should always be paid for its use- the price is up to me, not the company doing the selling. (Imagine if you gave your car to a dealer to have it serviced, and when you got it back, they had installed a tracking device which delivered targetted advertising to you 24/7. Don't you need to agree to things like that before-hand? They can't just say "We've decided that the irritation you may feel is worth ten dollars, so here")

If my information has value, no offer should be allowed to use the term "free!" if your personal information will be sold by the company. If they sell it, it has cash value to them, and so the deal is not "free".

In Italy privacy is guararteed by law (2, Interesting)

pioppo (61573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7649236)

We have a law since 1996, it's number 675.

In Italy people can't collect, use, process, sell and give away your personal information without your explicit written consent collected in advance.

For some data, the state is exempt by default (those strictly needed for tax and justice work).

Sensitive information (sexual, religious, about health and politics, and so on) is protected by special regulation.

Violating this law could result in penalties or prison, depending on gravity of violation.

This is very useful for spam too: many italian spammers have been already fined 250EUR for each spam email they sent (this money has been given to spammed people) plus legal costs.

Social Security numbers are not private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649249)

Most health insurance companies in the USA use your SS# as your patient ID. Quite a few companies also use it as Employeee IDs. It is on a lot of mail that is sent to your house ( think financial type stuff ). And speaking of financial stuff, ever wonder just how much private info about you is processed by folks from India , Pakistan and such > Until credit card companies and others stop trying to get every man woman and child in the USA to carry their cards. Or the goverment finally starts making THEM not us carry the cost of clearing up the mess you might as well tatoo it on your head. We are sitting ducks because it is SO easy to get credit.

Citizens on the short end of YA double standard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649292)

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday over whether the federal government should reimburse individuals whose sensitive data was disclosed illegally, even if no harm can be proven.

So, let's see:

We all pay more for blank recordable media because we *might* use it to illegally copy copyrighted material and cost some huge corporation a few bucks. We've all effectively been found guilty and penalized by a fine.

Put the shoe on the other foot, the government does something that *might* cost one or more of its constituents considerable time, money, and frustration trying to sort out the aftermath of having their identity stolen, and they don't want to be liable for it. You can bet that if they manage to avoid liability, the corporations that own the lawmakers will be pushing to join them.

this is a bit rich (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7649331)

All you moron libertarian /. types who, were you in law school, would be members of the Federalist Society and lusting after Renqhuist and Scalia's manhood, are now going to conveniently find a way to read a "privacy right" into the Constitution.

Which is something we liberals haven't had a problem with for a long time when we could use it to protect, e.g. the right to buy contraceptives, etc... Now that the libertarian "strict constructionist" types want the right since they're being mistreated it is humorous to hear their tone change.

In short, when they can use the Constitution to hurt and oppress others it's just fine. But now that they're part of the disadvantaged group suddenly it's easier for them to move beyond the "plain meanings" ....

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