Strip-Search Case Proves Privacy Is Dead

Supreme Court is just following our lead
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2012 1:26 PM CDT
Strip-Search Case Proves Privacy Is Dead
Anthony Kennedy.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

The Supreme Court's ruling upholding prisoner strip-searches is an indicator of a much wider trend. Such searches compromise human dignity, but in the court case, not even the dissenting justices argued against all strip-searches, writes Noah Feldman in Bloomberg. That's because "privacy, as we know it, is dying." And the justices—particularly Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion—"rarely fight the trend of history." And that trend isn't limited to the courtroom.

Government surveillance is booming, thanks to improvements in technology. You're tracked by camera all over London and increasingly in New York; airport body scanners can basically see you naked. And we're complicit in the loss of privacy, joining services like Gmail which allow a computer to scan all your messages. Then there's the loud, "intimate" cell-phone conversations on the bus. "The justices cannot help but be affected by these trends," Feldman writes. "The concept of privacy is inherently flexible, and the less we value it, the less our judicial institutions will protect it for us." Click for Feldman's full column. (More privacy stories.)

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