We’ve developed a troubling tendency in America, more of a knee-jerk reaction really, when faced with the latest news about government surveillance or some corporate hacking scandal to simply shrug our shoulders and remark knowingly that “privacy is dead.”
Did you know that the word privacy doesn’t appear once in the text of the US Constitution? But despite that troubling omission, the Supreme Court has repeatedly insisted that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy because of the spirit behind certain constitutional amendments. It’s a slippery business. Exactly how privacy came to be recognized as a constitutional right is a complicated story that reaches back to the civil rights movement, the war on crime, the women’s movement, and the crusade against communism.
Privacy is not dead in the United States, but it does seem to be circling the drain. This Olio offers an accessible primer to the basics of our constitutional right to privacy and the key legal trials that led to its recognition.
Franklin Foer reveals the existential threat posed by big tech, and in his brilliant polemic gives us the toolkit to fight their pervasive influence.