Freedom's Just Another Word for Getting Away with Something

I certainly am distrustful of an omnipotent government, but it’s not just the .gov that people should be wary of. If the technology exists, it won’t be hard for some 4chan trolls to snap a pic of the next women’s march, run it through some facial recognition software, and tie into some public databases to identify the participants, their contact info, home address, place of employment, etc. How many would feel comfortable going if their employers and friends / family were going to get an anonymous letter saying “Do you know what Sally was doing last weekend? She was at the women’s March in DC.” Many would likely not be bothered by this. Some would. Still don’t see any privacy issues?

If you walk out in public, you can be recognized. Now using that information maliciously is a Bad Thing. Further, what if were used for marketing (as it will be)? That is just plain annoying.

What a horrible assertion. It is horribly negative and unacceptably accusative. If you consider the citizens of the United States to be “free”, and I do, how many of the 300+ million people in this country are using their freedom to get away with something?

It is a question. It is not an assertion. I ought to have better phrased the title.

But they are (or could be) “taking note” in a way that is totally unlike what your grandfather experienced.

It’s a poor analogy. It’d be like saying “why do we need speed limits, I should be able to just drive my car as fast as it’ll go, just like my grandfather did.”

Just because government surveillance/observation of public places has been acceptable and necessary in certain degrees doesn’t mean that it follows that all degrees of surveillance and observation are equally acceptable and necessary.

Thank you, Eonwe. A fine answer.

DNA is not something observable in a public place.

The basic problem here is the potential for misuse. DNA is easier to plant than fingerprints. It’s also quite easy for it to show up in places randomly because it can be transferred and carried around. We already have enough problems making sure the state is an honest actor.

Good points. Points we ought to remember when on jury duty. Still, I am very impressed by the good DNA testing has done. (Yes, I did read the recent thread elsewhere.)

I think the concern is mission creep. I think most people would have no problem with widespread surveillance programs if they were being used to prevent violent crimes. But what happens if they’re used to prevent victimless crimes that offend public morality?

The USA PATRIOT Act was enacted to fight terrorist organizations. But once it existed, one of the first actual targets was a strip club.

I don’t think my neighbors have a need to know what I had for breakfast, what radio stations I listen to, what kind of wine is in my larder, what TV shows I watch, what kind of car I drive or the mileage, what color my underwear is, or what internet sites I access. Since I am not engaging in any illegal activity AFAIK, such data is mine and mine alone.

Yet all of these items and much more could theoretically be collected, distributed and sold. Although I am unlikely to suffer from that, it disturbs me when it happens. I don’t want my life to be an open book to unknown parties.

Occasionally I receive something by mail or email that may have been derived from my personal information.[sup]*[/sup] How did they get that? It gives me a feeling not too distant from rape. It’s an invasion of my personal privacy, even though it may be harmless. I’m not trying to get away with anything, I just want to be left alone.

  • …or not. I realize that many spammers send out the same “supposedly targeted” message to everyone, and some people will see a connection that is coincidental.

Right now I worry less about the government knowing stuff about me than corporations. It was very disturbing now quickly I started getting emails for cancer “cures” after I was diagnosed (Each of three times so I don’t think it was a coincidence or confirmation bias on my part.) I doubt it was my doctor personally, but many people in the hospital and pharmacy have access to those records.

If there is no expectation of privacy, then just about everything can be used as probable cause for a warrant and/or arrest. Your life can still be greatly disrupted and potentially ruined just by being labeled a suspect.

Like, imagine that if the police were to set up survelliance vans around the general vicinity of a homicide. The vans are equipped with devices that would allow cops to hone in on any conversation within a 1-km radius in which words like “kill”, “hide the evidence”,“dead body”, and “dismembered” are said, as well as the victim’s name. The devices can also pinpoint with 80% accuracy a general profile of the speaker of those words: race, age, gender, body height, and body weight. The device can also direct the police to the location where that specific conversation is talking place so that the “suspects” can be apprehended ASAP.

I have no intention of ever killing anyone, but I have been known to say things that might make me look bad to someone with a suspicious mind. And I really don’t look forward to being hauled down to the precinct in the middle of the night just for the mistake of talking about the characters on Breaking Bad a little too enthusiastically, without the appropriate disclaimers. Will a person be compensated if Officer Suri hears them say “I killed that bitch!” while playing a game and they are questioned by the police about it at a time when they would normally be at work, earning a paycheck? Of course not. So that means we the people need to push back on privacy intrusions…even if criminals benefit by us doing so.

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DNA used as a very precise fingerprint…maybe not a bad idea.

But that “mission creep” might include insurance companies buying DNA data, or requiring DNA submissions, and then using the data to decide who might get what disease and who should pay more for insurance or be dropped altogether.

It would really suck to find you cannot get insured because your DNA registered a hit on some arcane scientific study that says you are at risk for some life threatening ailment.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose said some philosopher.

That said, don’t ever fully trust the police. I like to take a quick nap in my car during my lunch break. Last week, I was woken up by the police pounding on my window asking me just WHAT WAS I DOING! It should have been self-evident but someone called in a complaint for some unknown reason and they questioned me about everything about my life.

I finally told them they were wasting time for both of us and I hadn’t done in anything wrong so the officer doubled down, made me do a full sobriety test and called for backup despite the fact I was being perfectly peaceful. I finally told them to just rip my whole car apart if they wanted but they weren’t going to find anything. They looked hard for anything to charge me with but came up empty handed and disappointed.

If they wanted to, they could have planted something despite the fact that I have never done an illegal drug in my life. I must have been the first person they ever saw that took a nap in their own car because it was a felony in their mind. I should have just told them to take me to the police station and do a blood test and then pursue legal action. They were just itching to screw with a peaceful citizen. Never again.

I’m sure the Chinese agree with you, since they are the ones using facial recognition software the most ubiquitously. All those folks in Xinjiang province and the various dissidents, troublemakers and evil meditation folks nabbed by it would probably disagree, but, hell, they were all just trying to ‘get away with something’, I’m sure…

My concern regarding the eradication of privacy is that if all my doings become public, the notion of “what is bad” will start to evolve to take advantage of the information available.

I’m an atheist. I’m not exactly ashamed of my atheism, but I’m sure as hell not in a hurry for “begbert2 doesn’t pray or go to church” to be posted in the public forum. If that information lands in the ears of persons who don’t know what a nice guy I am (or who don’t care), that could go very badly for me.

Things would be worse for those who are into kinky bondage stuff - or god forbid you’re trying to be closeted.

Yes, it’s possible to characterize all this as “getting away with something” - you can characterize buying a candy bar as “getting away with something”, because doubtlessy there’s somebody out there who would disapprove. We banned alcohol once, people. Never assume that moral guardians wouldn’t be willing to lay down the law.

Let me give an example I just saw come up on one of the YouTube channels I subscribe too. It’s about the company Grindr. Apparently, last year, a Chinese company bought a controlling interest in it. That’s great, right? Well, the real world effect is that anyone who had personal information on the site (which apparently has things like HIV status) now has to accept the fact that the CCP has that data. See, like the OP, the CCP believes that freedom is just another word for getting away with something…and they don’t like it. At all. So, all Chinese companies (all of them) are required to give the CCP full access to their data ‘if it’s requested’ (which, of course, it is). So…folks who used this site in the past or currently who are ‘just trying to get away’ with having their info remain private are shit out of luck. The OP is probably most pleased. Someone who posts something critical of the CCP will have their social credit score dropped, meaning they might not be allowed to travel, or buy certain things, or get certain jobs…or any jobs…or, you know, get picked up for, um, re-education and possible recycling. All good things, I’m sure! And they certainly deserve it, especially those Muslims, hidden Christians, social dissidents and, worst of all…those damned Falun Gong practitioners! Man, they are the worst at trying to get away with stuff. Why, I could tell you stories of meditation that would curl your hair and put waves in your toes!

The whole point of “freedom” is, yes, to be able to “get away” with something that society or a government would frown upon but which does not harm others and which brings some perceived benefit to oneself. It’s why LGBT people push for the “freedom” to be openly LGBT, or marijuana advocates push for legal pot, etc. Nobody needs “freedom” for things which society approves of and nobody would object to; freedom exists to protect things that would be frowned upon.

The irony is that I suspect a good number of cops end up taking naps in their cars.

I think “cause” is very relevant, both WRT private or public action. Take whiz quizzes for example. If I’m fucking up at my job (and am not driving school busses or gas tankers) I’m fine w/ my employer doing many reasonable steps to figure out why. Am I experiencing marital stress? Am I embezzling? Is my kid fucking up? Or am I abusing drugs OR alcohol. BUT - if I’m NOT fucking up, keep your nose outta my piss.

I can’t IMAGINE the anger I would experience if I were stopped for walking/driving/whatever while black. I like to think that cops are GENERALLY acting for the public good, but if I’m not doing something hinky, stay outta my face.

And I don’t favor the idea of simply gathering up as much info as possible, to see if any rotten apples shake out. Because, you know, if you aren’t doing anything wrong…

I’m willing to accept some pretty low bars for “investigation.” But I do desire SOME bars.