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Private Lives…Public Spaces

Posted on: July 27th, 2011 by Larry

“We value our privacy and we expect it to be respected, so we ought to respect other people’s privacy.”

That sounds straightforward enough. But where does privacy end and the public’s right to know begin? As we have seen in the tabloid phone hacking scandal, reporters working for the now-defunct “News of the World” tabloid in London hacked into the phones of certain people in the news, including a missing child. Some of her voicemails were deleted by the hackers, leading her parents to think she might still be alive. She was not.

“News of the World” was one of several tabloids owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp. They prefer sensation over mere information. And in this case it would appear they crossed the line of privacy. See the video.

Can you define that line? The person responsible for the above quote doesn’t find that easy. She is 102 year-old Dame Elizabeth Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s mother.

  • Most people would agree that what you do in your own home should be private. But do you think there are some exceptions, such as if you are a plotting a crime in your home?
  • Should you have an expectation of privacy in the street or can anyone take your picture?
  • The full body scanners now used in airport screenings leave little to the imagination. Should security concerns trump privacy there?
  • Does being a performer or politician mean you lose your right to privacy in public places?