Privacy Rights, Free Speech, Libertarianism, the Carpenter Case, Search Warrants, the Fourth Amendment

From: K
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 9:13 AM
Subject: Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk | Opinion | The Guardian

I would love to know your thoughts on this issue of cell phone data accessibility. My initial thoughts are that we abdicate our right to privacy when we pick up our phone and make calls because we know our location and other information is not private. Should the technology providers add privacy agreement with the customers in order to gain a market advantage (Apple has made strides in that market area)? I would pay extra to know that my information is more secure. I have learned of a company in Switzerland that charges for email service but everything is well encrypted. Or maybe there is an understood contract that these technology companies are not going to sell out our information to the government???

In the article I’m copying at the bottom it says that free-speech is directly connected to this privacy issue. I kind of think that’s a stretch. We don’t live in the 1920s anymore when it was very difficult to track but journalists’ activities perhaps. In comparison to the olden days it seems to be common knowledge that investigation of the story is conducted with many more challenges to maintain secrecy until the story is revealed. Kind of a given. The article argues that free-speech of journalists is at risk by third-party technology companies. But it is also much easier for the journalist to track the activities of their story makers. I’m guess I’m writing this note to you because I have struggled with the privacy issue and have revisited your thoughts on the matter several times. As with IP, I’m afraid I am leaning more towards your views on privacy then where mine were in the past. thanks, K

Dear K: According to this article you have sent me, “the fourth amendment … protects the right to privacy.” Here’s the fourth: “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.” Note that this word “privacy” appears nowhere in this amendment. In my view, there is no right to privacy (I even defend the Peeping Tom in my book Defending II; see below for my publications on so called privacy rights). The Carpenter case turns on whether the government needs a warrant before it can engage in a search. Since I oppose government in general, I support pretty much anything that clips its wings, and that requirement does so, so I favor it.

I see privacy as an aspect of wealth; an economic good, like cars or houses or shoes or food. Gated communities, guards, drapes, venetian blinds, are all assets that promote privacy. I have no doubt that in the free society, cell phone companies will offer extra privacy, for a price, and that many consumers will purchase this service. I don’t see how any of this has anything to do with free speech. I hope this is helpful.

Block, 1991, 2012, 2013A, 2013B, ch. 18, 2016; Block, Kinsella and Whitehead, 2006

Block, Walter E. 2016. “So-called Privacy Rights Are Incompatible with our Libertarian Philosophy.” September 23

So-called Privacy Rights Are Incompatible with our Libertarian Philosophy

Block, Walter E. 1991. “Old Letters and Old Buildings,” The Freeman Ideas on Liberty, March, pp. 96,;

Block, Walter E. 2012. “Rozeff on Privacy: A Defense of Rothbard.” December 13;

Rozeff on Privacy: A Defense of Rothbard

Block, Walter E. 2013A. “There Is No Right to Privacy.” July 13;

There Is No Right to Privacy

There Is No Right to Privacy;;;

Block, Walter E. 2013B. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House

Chapter on the “peeping tom”:
Block, Walter E. 2013. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House;;; isbn: 9781908089373;;;;;;;

Block, Walter, Stephan Kinsella and Roy Whitehead. 2006. “The duty to defend advertising injuries caused by junk faxes: an analysis of privacy, spam, detection and blackmail.” Whittier Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 925-949;;

September 20, 2013. Guillermo Jimenez,; Skype: tracesofreality; RBN Producer; 800-313-9443; the philosophy of libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, stateless order, bitcoin, rights to privacy;


6:18 pm on November 29, 2017