Supreme Court ruling allows privacy from gov’t, but not companies


The Supreme Court has ruled that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy from government but not from companies.

In a 9-0 decision, the justices ruled that the police or the FBI can’t place a GPS on a car and track your movements if you are potential suspect in a crime. They must have a warrant first.

Back when the Constitution was written, there was no concept of privacy. In fact, in our country’s very rural days, people would have been glad to have an intrusion of any kind into their lives! They lived far apart from one another with few ways to communicate and craved connection with others. Today, obviously, we live in a very different world.

In its decision, the Supreme Court ruled government has to respect your right to privacy, but not companies. When you go on the web, people spy on you. Your info is cataloged and sold. Credit bureaus create dossiers on you and sell them. There are so many ways our daily lives are tracked, poked and cataloged without our knowledge or consent.

The justices asked that Congress get its act together and write some ground rules to govern what kind of expectations about privacy we can have when we’re dealing with companies.

More and more, we have to make choices like the ones that auto insurers ask us to do, where they monitor our driving in return for determining the risk level we pose them and possibly reducing our premiums. Progressive Insurance is probably the biggest player in this field.

So what right to privacy do we have? Right now, not a lot. The Supreme Court started us in that direction, but it’s up to Congress to move us further along.

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