Is Alito Strongly Pro-Privacy?

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8 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    “We believe the potential for invasions of privacy through the use of computers is so great that all private computer systems should be licensed by the federal government.”

    This scares me. Sure, this was a time when not everybody had a computer system of their own and he may well not advocate the same today. Still, “[W]e are convinced that in recent years government has often used improper means to gather informtion about individuals who posed no threat either to their government or to their fellow citizens”, so let’s insert the government’s hand directly into the tools for surveillance?

    I would really like to know what Alito would have expected this licensing to accomplish. What would be criteria to qualify or disqualify an applicant? A quick skimming of that section suggests that, for instance, Apple Computer might never have gotten off the ground; it’s easy to see how Wozniak and Jobs would be denied a license for the computers they built in their garage.

    The unease is more general, though. Something isn’t optimal so let’s get the federal government involved? Does Alito seriously suggest that the solution to a morally negative use of a technology (which is itself morally neutral) is a government decision on who may or may not use that technology? He can have my laptop when he pries it from my cold dead hands.

  2. Bruce says:

    I had a similar initial reaction, but it’s mitigated somewhat by the fact that in 1972 a “private computer system” would almost certainly have been a business mainframe.

  3. John Armstrong says:

    Bruce:

    As I said, the quote was from before the era of personal computers. I came back at the end, though, and questioned whether this means Alito is a supporter of the government (and the federal government, specifically) regulating and controlling whatever can be used for any ill purposes.

  4. SCOTUSblog says:

    Weekend Blog Round-Up

    In nomination news: Concurring Opinions asks, “Is Alito Strongly Pro-Privacy?” The Legal Ethics Forum has this post on “Judge Alito and the Vanguard Recusal Question.” The Brady Campaign released this statement on Alito and a ban on fully automatic mac…

  5. IPTAblog says:

    Blawg Review #31

    Welcome to Blawg Review #31, the weekly guide to the best posts in the legal blog world. This week, Blawg Review will fall in love, geek out, go online, get some useful advice and maybe even engage in some light…

  6. IPTAblog says:

    Blawg Review #31

    Welcome to Blawg Review #31, the weekly guide to the best posts in the legal blog world. This week, Blawg Review will fall in love, geek out, go online, get some useful advice and maybe even engage in some light…

  7. scott says:

    Holy Cow! I am a technologist, and I have strongly harbored exactly these fears and concerns regarding privacy for a number of years. Particularly since the rise of companies like Choicepoint and the broader and broader application and use of Credit scoring. With medical records not very far off, and the use of DNA testing for a number of diseases, this paranoia has only grown.

    My greatest objection to Alito was based on his deference to police authority in 4th amendment questions; I feared he would be exactly the opposite of what he expresses here. If this is indeed his work and he still adheres to it, I’ll be popping of a letter to my Senators asking them to support him.

  8. Steve says:

    The strategy, if you want to call it that by those opposing Alito, is weak. It’s so weak I call it “The CAP Strategy Against Alito is a Byrd CAP Strategy”

    On the issue that they attack, Alito seems very progressive based on his stewardship of the “Boundaries of Privacy in American Society” task force. Things must be looking mighty bad in the anti-Alito camp for this to be their strategy. It looks for all I can tell to be an effort to Bork him from within the republican party like Meirs. That’s not going to happen, and it is telling of just how weak the argument against Alito is from those who oppose and are organized against his nomination…………………………