Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ethics, Policy, and Practice

As I was reading the Bowers article, I was struck by the statement that "the US constitution does not explicitly state or grant to individuals the right of privacy." (377) Perhaps its been a bit too long since high school US government class, but privacy seems to be a right that we expect in many parts of our lives (medical records, financial records, etc). I know that this is the result of many individual laws and such, but it just seems a bit odd to me that such a pervasive expectation wouldn't be in the Constitution somewhere (I know it's implied in our right against unlawful search and seizure, but it still isn't explicit there).

On this same note, it is also interesting to me that, "there is still no federal legislation that provides protection for library records." (Bowers, 378) With the big bully of the Patriot Act looming over librarian's and library users heads, it seems quite logical that there would be something nationwide that says library records cannot be inspected just because the FBI has a hunch that something is going on (like in the case in Connecticut featured on the YouTube video). As I was poking around some local libraries privacy statements, it would appear that there is state legislation in Illinois that prevents this situation from happening. And perhaps this is the case in the majority of states. But why not make life simpler and pass a federal law?

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised by this as well. I guess I just assumed that privacy was mentioned SOMEWHERE in the constitution. It is true that many of the passages within the constitution (all mentioned in the article) infer that American’s have a right to privacy…the courts have agreed with this, thankfully...but, I still find it very strange. I wonder why privacy was not mentioned directly?