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    Op-Ed at Chicago Tribune: Can you hear me now, when privacy matters

    At the Chicago Tribune, there is an opinion column about the continuing erosion of privacy rights:

    I’m not a privacy hawk. Body scanners at the airport don’t bother me as long as they don’t slow me down. I don’t mind traffic surveillance cameras either, […]

    But even I’m starting to get creeped out a bit. This month, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about what requirements must be met in order for the government to track our movements. It turns out, most of our cell phones have built-in GPS locators, and the Department of Justice is arguing that it doesn’t need probable cause to track us. Although cell phone tracking is lawful if there is reason to believe that it would uncover a crime, the government is arguing that no such suspicion is necessary — that tracking our locations and cell phone usage isn’t protected by the Fourth Amendment.

    Here’s the government’s scary argument as originally described in a 2005 Department of Justice memo to U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein: “One who does not wish to disclose his movements to the government need not use a cellular telephone.” Really?

    I know that what seems private today is often public tomorrow. I understand that the government wants to protect me from criminals, but it’s getting awfully strange out there.

    And it’s not because I’m prudish. Or because I’m doing anything wrong. It’s because I believe this barrage of intrusion can impact my ability to make my own moral choices. […]

    Without privacy, our self-determination can be tempered by our concern of what others might think.

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