Download American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested by Frederick S. Lane PDF

By Frederick S. Lane

A sweeping tale of the ideal to privateness because it sped alongside colonial postal routes, telegraph wires, and today’s fiber-optic cables on a collision direction with presidents and programmers, librarians and letter-writers.

''The historical past of the United States is the heritage of the correct to privacy,'' writes Frederick S. Lane during this brilliant and penetrating exploration of our such a lot hotly debated constitutional correct. From Governor William Bradford starting colonists’ mail sure for England, to President George W. Bush’s expansive family wiretapping, the motivations in the back of govt surveillance have replaced little regardless of fast advances in communications expertise. but all too frequently, americans were their very own worst enemies by way of conserving privateness, compliantly forgoing civil liberties in severe instances of battle in addition to for daily client conveniences. each one people now contributes to an ever-evolving digital file of on-line purchasing sprees, photograph albums, overall healthiness files, and political contributions, obtainable to just about a person who cares to seem. In a digitized international the place facts lives without end, Lane urges us to think about no matter if privateness is even feasible. How did we arrive at this brink?

American Privacy lines the lineage of cultural norms and felony mandates that experience swirled round the Fourth modification on account that its adoption. In 1873, the advent of postcards cut up American opinion of public propriety. Over a century later, Twitter takes its position at the spectrum of human connection. among those nodes, Anthony Comstock waged an ethical campaign opposed to obscene literature, George Orwell penned 1984, Joseph McCarthy hunted Communists and ''perverts,'' President Richard Nixon surveilled himself correct out of workplace, and the ideally suited courtroom of the U.S. issued its such a lot influential felony evaluations about the correct to privateness thus far. Captured the following, those old snapshots upload as much as a full of life narration of privacy’s champions and challengers.

Legally, technologically, and traditionally grounded, American Privacy concludes with a decision for Congress to acknowledge how innovation and infringement move hand-in-hand, and a problem to voters to guard privateness sooner than it truly is misplaced thoroughly.

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Entertaining these views, I can not sanction, and will not condemn the step you have taken. ” The idea was taken up with vigor by South Carolina senator (and former vice president) John C. Calhoun, an ardent defender of states’ rights and slavery. S. ” Through various parliamentary maneuvers, Calhoun contrived to have the vote on approving the bill for a third reading end in an 18–18 tie, which meant that as president of the Senate, Vice President Van Buren would cast the deciding vote. Van Buren did his best to avoid the dilemma, wanting neither to disappoint the North nor anger the South.

But Otis was not content to argue merely that the potential for abuse rendered the writs of assistance invalid; he went much further, and argued that the act of Parliament establishing the writs was void because such writs are contrary to the common law—that is, the accumulated judicial decisions—of the English people. “No Acts of Parliament can establish such a writ,” Otis thundered, “though it should be made in the very words of the petition, it would be void. ” The idea that even acts of Parliament are subject to the overarching authority of an English constitution was a concept that would find fertile soil among the colonists, but it fell on deaf ears in the State House.

S. Post Office offered concrete evidence of just how popular postcards had become: for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, its postal carriers delivered 677,777,798 postcards—at a time when the entire population of the United States was less than 90 million. The postcard phenomenon convincingly demonstrated that from the start, Americans were willing to give up a certain amount of privacy in exchange for the fun and convenience of using the cards. But postcards also demonstrated one other critical element of the ongoing 31 32 American Privacy privacy debate in this country: the fact that the definition of “privacy” is a highly individual concept.

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