November 10, 2012

Privacy doesn't seem to matter anymore

Stories like this make me nauseous:
Handwritten letters from Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger to his former lover Marsha Hunt will be auctioned in London next month.
This isn't right. If someone sent you a private letter, and didn't supply copies for the world at large, you shouldn't have a right to sell the letters. It's just plain wrong.

I would extend this further. At trials, we often see the defendant's journal held up as evidence. I believe a journal is private and that no one can violate this privacy. The world has no right to see what's in a journal -- no matter the reason.

If we don't have a place where we are assured of privacy, then why should anyone keep a journal? For that matter, why should anyone write a heartfelt letter? Better not to, or it may come to light some day.

Humans need privacy. This is why married couples can't testify against one another at trial. There is an understanding that marriage guarantees a sense of privacy. If you can't speak openly to your wife or husband, what could marriage possibly mean?

It's the same way with personal letters and journals. When I make an entry in my journal, it's not for the world to see. It's for me alone. My journal is a place where I can speak freely, knowing that prying eyes will never see it.

Or will they? Perhaps I should toss my journal, lest it become something embarrassing at a later date, when anyone who wants to can read it. I don't like that at all. Privacy is important. Without it, what the heck are we?

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