It goes both ways. I shouldn't systematically observe my neighbour either and if they're watching me but they don't do anything with that information and I don't notice, am I really harmed?
I agree, I guess, that (in general) people shouldn't systematically covertly monitor others (aka stalking), but I think one important yardstick here is the effort
that is put in to this. I think technology changes things here, because it makes it much easier to find information. Whereas in the past, looking into someone's background could involve weeks trawling libraries, etc., for old school yearbooks, police notices in newspapers, etc., now you can type their details into Google, Facebook, etc., and (maybe) find quite a lot of stuff quite quickly. This means that doing a background check is no longer something that can necessarily be described as 'calculated'/'premeditated', etc., but may simply be done on a whim, without too much consideration.
At the moment most individuals won't have access to ANPR cameras but we already have tiny keychain cameras, night-vision IR cameras, home-built UAVs, tiny cameras and GPS in every phone. And we already have a few laws about filming people where there is a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' even when they're in public places, or putting tracking and other spy software on other people's phones or computers remotely.
Yup, but again, I think when you can have a reasonable expectation of privacy depends in part on how difficult it would be for someone to listen in (or whatever). If it were so easy that someone might do it without giving it much consideration, then I would question whether you can really have a reasonable expectation of privacy. (OTOH, using tracking devices etc. involves tampering with other people's property, so I think it's wrong for this reason, even if it's not too difficult to do.)
I can see already this is going to be a very controversial area. People have very different ideas of how much privacy is reasonable.
Yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head. My feeling is that technology has very much changed what we can reasonably expect to be private. e.g. I'm not sure that if you send unencrypted e-mail you can really reasonably expect it to be private. We might feel that it ought
to be, but that's not the same as expecting that it will be. If nothing else, I think outlawing a lot of things that are trivial to do is likely to be a bit pointless, because people will probably still do them anyway.
This is one of a few things that I find incongruous about pirate party ideas. Here we have a group of people who are tech savvy, and well understand how easy it would be for a government to monitor e-mail, and yet claim that they expect
unencrypted e-mail to be just as secure as physical mail. Really? You're surprised that unencrypted e-mail is insecure? You never saw that one coming?
The pirate parties recognise that information technology radically changes what is appropriate for copyright law. In part this is because copying used to be an incredibly expensive, time-consuming activity, and now it's trivial to do, so copyright law now outlaws things that are trivial to do. Because of this, copyright law that was once reasonable has become a farce. Yet there is an inexplicable belief that information technology will have no effect on what we can reasonably expect to be private.
Surely, if we really care about people's privacy, we ought to actually do something about it--If you don't want the neighbour looking in your bedroom window, you put up curtains.