QUESTION: What are the constitutional principles behind individual privacy rights?


David New:

“… The Fourth Amendment, which has 54 words in it, couldn’t be more clear that there is a right to privacy in the sense of the Constitution. This is the right of the people to be secure in their person’s houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable … It doesn’t say absolute, but it does say unreasonable searches and seizures should not be violated, and so if you don’t have privacy in your life, you really don’t have a life, and that’s the whole issue. That’s why it’s so important that the government cannot come in and treat you like a suspect, and this is the problem with the level of espionage that goes on in this country right now, is that every American effectively is treated as a suspect, and that’s why it’s wrong…

The government has to have a valid or legitimate reason to intrude in your private life. There has to be a genuine fact that would cause the government to suspect you of doing something you shouldn’t be doing, such as plotting to commit a terrorist act in the United States, plotting to blow up the Statue of Liberty.

There has to be a basis in fact. It can’t be a matter of whim. It has to be something that the government can put its hands on, and it should go before a judge. But part of the problem is that now the government has what they call NSLs, National Security Letters, that the FBI can use National Security Letters, and they don’t require a judge for the government to intrude in your private affairs, and this is totally unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment. If nothing couldn’t, that does.”