The right to privacy: “in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?”

by Stephen Tall on June 22, 2013

With news today of yet further alleged intrusion into private citizens’ communications — GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications (Guardian) — here’s how The West Wing anticipated the past week’s furore…


(Available on YouTube here.)

Sam Seaborn: It’s not just about abortion, it’s about the next 20 years. In the ’20s and ’30s it was the role of government. ’50s and ’60s it was civil rights. The next two decades are going to be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?

“In a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?” In the UK our (real-life) politicians are more likely to be found saying “If you have nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”. As I’ve asked before in response to this statement:

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.