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November 29, 2015

Essay 4
Constitutional Privilege to Privacy
The United States of America was founded on a list of basic principles that our found
fathers believed were our fundamental rights. This was called the bill of rights. Among them, the
ninth amendment was an amendment that constitutes the domain of any rights that were not
thought of, and any more rights that we see fundamental but were not in the original to be added
under the 9th amendment. Under here, after the decision of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court of
The United States, declared that there is a right to privacy under this amendment. As time has
gone on, this is becoming more and more desensitized and privacy is now becoming more of a
privilege than a right, and we as the mindless consumer buy into this sham and dont realize it
until it is already too late. With the creation of the internet only happening in 1995, 20 years later
the technology industry has been booming exponentially; too quickly to grasp the concept of it or
our humanity slowly slipping away to new, shinny phones and tablets. Though paved with good
intentions, this road that we are zooming through has a toll price that is becoming more and more
expensive each time: our right to privacy. Are we the generation that it is just eternally screwed?
Now, in the case of this Farmers Unite situation, Joe Jeffreys is trying to decide whether
or not he should sue Farmers Unite because his privacy was breached. Joe did lie about this
profile on Farmers Unite, and he did rush through the process without the terms and conditions.
This is a very big decision because it would be on man against a large company with an entire
legal team, so he would HAVE to win to be able to pay off the law expenses and the charges the
IRS will go after him for. So, even though he agreed to only share this information with Farmers
Unite, a company that says they pride themselves in their privacy protection, should This is a

very difficult question because of the given circumstances. Joe should win his case because was
uninformed of the terms in which his data would be shared. But even if this is true, is Privacy
really a right, or just a privilege?
Well, it is easy to jump to the conclusion and say of course privacy is a right! But,
what you may fail to realize, is that we are losing our privacy in ways you may not even realize.
According to Daniel J. Solove, a professor of law at George Washington University Law School,
he stated in his article, The End of Privacy, that The U.S. has resisted enacting all
encompassing legislation, and that The U.S. has less stringent privacy laws than do many other
countries, (Solove, 104). Solove, in this article and quote, is explaining that we are losing
privacy little by little as technology advances. Now, on Facebook, a persons shopping and
purchased product data can be used to form advertisements for their friends without their
knowledge. This is controversial because it makes the users data more easily accessible. This is
the case with Joe. One of Joes issues is that data he thought was only accessible by him and
Farmers Unite was easily accessible by the IRS and another online user.
This issue is directly caused by a lack of privacy. The problem is whether or not it was
legal for the company of Farmers Unite to share his profile data with other sites and the
government, even if he agreed to the terms and conditions. This situation isnt so black and white
as it may seem. It is easy for someone to say he agreed to the terms and conditions, he should
have read them, but even if this is the case, if Joe has a constitutional right to privacy, no
amount of terms and conditions should have the legal capability to inhibit that in the first place.
Have you ever read entirely through the terms of and conditions of anything? They are
enormous, and are included in virtually every application, website, account, device, and dating
site in existence. The amount of time it would take to read that entire already complicated piece

would take the average person days to read if done consecutively. To say that he is responsible
for reading all of that information wouldnt truly be fair.
An argument that will be brought up, that is in fact valid, is how are we supposed to
adhere to someones privacy without a clear definition of it. James Gleick, in his article How
Google Dominates Us, mentions this exact point. He says, Privacy is not something that can be
counted, divided, or traded. It is not a substance or collection of data points. Its just a word that
we clumsily use to stand in for a wide array of values and practices that influence how we
manage our reputations in various contexts. There is no formula for assessing it: I cant give
Google three of my privacy points in exchange for 10 percent better service, (Gleick, 10).
Gleick provides a very good point. How can we defend the right of something without a clear
definition of it? Well, Privacy as he described above, isnt a numerical value. It is an abstract
concept that cannot be numerically defined. There isnt a level of truth points or love or respect.
Same applies for privacy, and simply because it cannot be numerically defined, doesnt permit
that companies, such as Google or Farmers unite, hold the right to take advantage of it. Where
does that dominance stop? Gleick also mentioned something that the creator of Google, Larry
Page said, which was, Eventually youll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it
will just tell you the answer, (Gleick, 2).
But so what? So what about privacy? Lets just say that privacy is irrelevant and it is the
cost of new technology. Solove mentioned that, Some technologists and legal scholars flatly say
no. Privacy, they maintain, is just not compatible with a world in which information flows so
freely, (Solove, 103). Is he right? Neil Postman argues that technology was always foreseen to
intrude into peoples daily lives in his piece The Judgment of Thamus. He says, from a 1995
standpoint, discussing the creation of the computer: Their private matters have been made more
accessible to powerful institutions, (Postman, 3). Now-a-days we are unconsciously sacrificing

our privacy for the next iphone update or Snapchat feature. Are we becoming slowly desensitized
and sacrifice our privacy just to have new technology? Well, if we are, we need to at least stay
informed. This is exactly what Joe did. He essentially did what every normal person does on the
web and buys into the cost of usage. Look at him now: He is staring up at the IRS standing over
him, investigating him for tax fraud and he may end up having to pay thousands. If he loses, this
could be the end of his normal life because he will be financially ruined. Should a big business
win simply because it is a big business and he is a single person? If he loses, this will only
reinforce the concept that these companies have dominance over us, and we buy into it. The
thing that is most concerning about that situation is that Joe got into it by doing the very same
things that we as people do every day. So we are just as at risk as Joe is. That is why privacy is
Good points are to be made about the cost of technology and the loss of privacy, but even
with those points, they cannot belittle the importance of privacy. Is Solove right; is this the end
of privacy? It doesnt have to be. If Joe Jeffreys wins his case, then it would be a step against the
dominance of internet and computer based companies over our constitutional right to privacy.
Joe was wronged and is now against a large company legal team alone. He shouldnt be made the
example that we cant fend for our own privacy. The threats to privacy are formidable, and
people are starting to realize how strongly they regard privacy as a basic right, (Solove, 106).

Works Cited.
Gleick, James. "How Google Dominates Us." NYREV Inc., 18 Oct. 2011.
Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <>.
Postman, Neil. "The Judgement of Thamus." Technolopoly: The Surrender of Culture to
Technology (1992): n. pag. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <Technolopoly: the surrender of
culture to technology>.
Solove, Daniel J. "The End of Privacy?" Scientific American, n.d. Web. 29 Nov.