Pirate Wheel Principles: Privacy

Privacy is one of the eight principles of the Pirate Wheel, meaning that everybody has the right to have her life to herself. The concept divides into seven areas.

Privacy of Body: Your body is yours, and you have the right to do with it what you like. If you make bad decisions or have bad luck, society will be there to assist you with health care. Nobody may invade your body or violate your supreme prerogative over it. You may do anything with your body that does not limit what other people can do with theirs. By extension, Privacy of Body includes Privacy of Thought, of Opinion, and of Emotion.

Privacy of Correspondence: What you discuss with other people, when, how, and from where is something between you and them, and only between you and them. None of this may be tracked in any way, nor the fact that you are communicating at all.

Privacy of Data: The bit patterns on your computer, laptop, pad, phone, and other devices is a private matter for you. It is not something that authorities may even ask about. Private data that resides with trusted parties such as healthcare may not be given to anyone but you, and nobody has the right to demand that you hand such data to them as a precondition for services.

Privacy of Economy: Your assets, inflow of funds and outflow of funds are for you to know. Authorities may only observe what is openly visible from a public area.

Privacy of Identity: You have the right to be anonymous in all daily matters and as you go about your day. Asking for identification is something that may only be done by authorities, and even then, only when good reason exists. Preventing crime in general is not a good enough reason. In general, society should be built so that people only carry identifying documents when they know they will be needed for a specific errand on that particular day. 95% or more of the population should not carry ID at any snapshot in time.

Privacy of Location: Where you are physically at the current time or were a previous point in time is not something that anybody may spy on with less than direct observation by human eyes. It is your private matter.

Privacy of Territory: Your territory may not be invaded without your consent. Territory here does not just mean land, but can also be confined, closed private space under your control, like a car or a handbag.

These privacies may only be violated by dedicated authorities on concreteprior, andindividual suspicion of a specificcommitted, and serious crime. Let’s see what this means:

Dedicated authorities: Only law enforcement may break the privacy. Your doctor and dentist, for instance, will always be on your side. You will always know which authority has which role in society — and only law enforcement works with enforcing law and potentially violating your privacy in working against you.

Concrete suspicion: If privacy is to be violated, it must be because of a formal, concrete suspicion. Usually this means that somebody has been identified as a suspect somewhere in a file.

Prior suspicion: Privacy may only be violated after suspicion of a crime has been identified.

Individual suspicion: Privacy may only be violated after the suspect has been individually identified. Violating the privacy of many citizens to find the suspect is a violation of the fundamental rights of these citizens; they would not be under individual suspicion when that happens.

Specific crime: If your privacy is to be violated, you must be under suspicion of a specific crime — say, the bank robbery on May 15, 2010 against Sillybank Ltd on King’s Road in Duckville, Kansas. You cannot be under suspicion for bank robbery in general.

Committed crime: The dedicated authorities may only violate your privacy for an already-committed crime, and never to prevent you from committing one. Your decisions are yours right up until the point where you may or may not choose to break the law.

Serious crime: The dedicated authorities may only violate privacy for a serious crime. Where this limit lies will vary from legislation to legislation, but let’s establish that murder is serious and that shoplifting is not. Typically, the limit would vary between the different kinds of privacy, but a baseline would be an expected six months in prison as a minimum seriousness for violating any privacy.

In violating somebody’s privacy, the dedicated authorities are on their own. Under no circumstance may they demand the cooperation of the suspected citizen in violating his or her own privacy, such as demanding a surrender of passwords, in the process of conducting an investigation. No person can be obligated to incriminate nor clear him- or herself of guilt.

Further, they may only use material against an individual that was gathered with the goal of investigating the specific crime which justified violating privacy in the first place.

Unwillingness to voluntarily surrender privacy rights is never grounds for suspicion of any crime.

Updated 2011-Nov-13.

Pirate Wheel, Principles: Privacy.
Derives From:

Leads To:
Accountability (with Transparency)
Democracy (with Accountability, Transparency, Rule of Law, and Participation)
Copyright Monopoly (with Infofreedom and Monopolies)
Infofreedom (with Transparency and Ticks)
Money Neutrality (with Diversity, Resilience, and Swarm Economy)