To the Editor,
With the revelations now coming forth about the NSA and government access to all of our personal data and communications, the question of the right to privacy has properly become a major concern. The capability of our government to spy on us is something that would make dictators of bygone eras salivate. Even Vladimir Putin envies Obama’s NSA program because “he can get away with it.” Perhaps you’ve heard defenders of these programs argue that the Constitution says nothing about our right to privacy. I strongly disagree.
Our homes are often called “private residences,” and for good reason. So-called “castle laws” give owners of houses the right to defend themselves and their property with deadly force if the threat requires it.
The oft ignored third amendment states that “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner.” In other words, our founders intended that our right to the privacy of our houses to be constitutionally protected.
The third amendment sets up the protection expounded upon in the fourth amendment, namely that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”
Being secure is the very concept of privacy, and this amendment, coupled with the third, encompasses every conceivable thing with which we are connected — and it refers to that security as being “the right.”
Congressman Barton boasts of his co-chairmanship of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus whose stated purpose is “to explore data privacy and security issues before Congress.” Given these on-going revelations of the violation of our privacy, we must ask, “How’s that caucus working out for us?”
I’d say not very well.
We need more than just a caucus that “explores” issues as they relate to our privacy and security; we need someone who will uphold and fight for our constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy.