Privacy is a human right, not subject to state control

07_november_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,252

Saturday 07 November 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Yet another top down, authoritarian, half brained Tory saying, ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing fear’. When people say to certain MPs, ‘You just don’t get it,’ they are exactly right. There seems to be no way to get it through these thick skulls that it is their bone deep authoritarian paternalism that is an absolute block to their gaining any human understanding.

Liberty has this to say of the right to privacy which is article 8 of the human rights act, “The importance of the right to personal privacy became self-evident in the immediate aftermath of the horrors of the Second World War. The right to a private life is based on principles of human dignity and is inherently linked to many other rights such as equal treatment and free expression. A society that does not pay proper regard to personal privacy is one where dignity, autonomy and trust are fatally undermined.” Tory MP, Richard Graham, clearly has no sense of irony that he was quoting an expression that is attributed to Hitlers propagandist, Joseph Goebbels.

Human dignity is central to privacy which has at its heart the innate sense of that which is personal, private and intimate and rightly regarded as free from public scrutiny provided it is neither abusive nor harmful to others.

Those occasions when surveillance might be called for are by definition exceptional. The modern means of communication may have switched to a digital format, but privacy must be respected just as it should with any written letter which should reach it’s destination without interference, until and unless there are reasonable legal grounds to suspect ill intent to cause unreasonable and illegal harm to others.

Routine surveillance is an offence against human dignity. Heretofore privacy has possibly been too much taken for granted, although in a democratic and free society the assumption of privacy is perfectly reasonable. Today privacy has become a political issue precisely because we do not live in a democratic and free society. It therefore becomes the right and the duty of every human being who regards human privacy and dignity as central to our life and well being to oppose any attempt by the state to abuse its power when it oversteps the principle of serving the people and their interests, something you have been doing since 2010. Abuse of power is the primary issue here and people are right to fear it and oppose it.

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