The Corporate Law Group

Your Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Your Reasonable Expectation of PrivacyOne aspect of the Apple / FBI privacy dispute now underway that we don’t hear anyone discussing is that we are in control of our reasonable expectation of privacy. You heard me right. Not the courts. Not the politicians. Not law enforcement. You! You (all of us) determine what is reasonable and unreasonable.

Once encryption is broken, is it reasonable to believe your phone is private? Beats us. That’s for juries to decide. But it is certainly a chink in the armor against answering that question, “No.” Once we know that encryption is gone, your expectation that your phone is private might very well go away too. Want more privacy? Insist on it at all times. Eventually maybe we restore some privacy.

And don’t let the existence of Facebook argue otherwise. We all hear it. Privacy is dead. Nothing is private. But with any social media site (if you pay attention to the site’s policies) you are in control of your privacy there, usually including your ability to tell them to erase all your data. Just because you post pictures of your drum solo at the local bar doesn’t mean that you want to give up all privacy rights.

One more thing. Privacy, like speech and all our rights against government control, is only tested at the margins. It’s easy to say that kind words deserve freedom of speech. To walk the talk is to agree that disgusting, hurtful, shocking, words deserve freedom of speech. So, of course, our rights die when government makes a popular or good argument for us to give them up. But make no mistake, give them up is what you do. So we say let’s all just say, “No” and keep a little privacy.