Judge’s Privacy Putdown Lends Credence To Gov’t Snooping

April 30, 2013 – In The News

Scott Vernick was quoted in the Law360 article, "Judge’s Privacy Putdown Lends Credence To Gov’t Snooping." While the full text can be found in the April 30, issue of Law360, a synopsis is noted below.

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner is attracting attention for his recent feature in the New York Daily News op-ed piece, “Privacy Is Overrated.” In the publication Posner notes that he believes U.S. citizens overvalue privacy and should accept surveillance technology like the kind used to identify the alleged Boston Marathon bombers.

Attorneys say that Posner’s arguments are overly simplistic and could be used to justify government spying on everything from personal computers to corporate email. Many believe his view ignores the nuances between public and private intrusions and the need to balance privacy concerns with the government’s interest in obtaining information quickly.

In response to ideas that privacy is valued as a means of concealing things that people find morally appropriate to protect, Scott Vernick said defining privacy as merely concealment “may be a little jaundiced.”

“Part of the social contract we have in this country is that we expect our private lives to be kept private,” he said.

Despite disagreeing with his recent opinion on privacy laws, attorneys believe the buzz surrounding Posner’s op-ed piece will not have an impact on his rulings from the bench.