Reply to post: Re: Dear Police

Internet imbeciles, aka British ISP lobbyists, backtrack on dubbing Mozilla a villain for DNS-over-HTTPS support

Pier Reviewer

Re: Dear Police

It’s important to understand and accept that rights are not absolute. That’s the point I tried (poorly it seems) to make.

The right to be presumed innocent unless found guilty does not preclude my arrest by the police, or being bailed on restrictive terms, because victims of crime have a right to justice. The police therefore need some investigative powers.

My right to free speech is likewise not absolute. If I were to claim you to be a kiddy fiddler you would understandably find take umbridge with that, and the courts provide relief in the form of slander and libel.

A classic example is going into a theatre and shouting “fire” when there is none resulting in panic, stampede and injury. I can not successfully claim the right to free speech as a defence as that right is fettered by other people’s rights not to be injured because I’m an idiot.

Rights lie on a spectrum, and it’s up to society to decide which parts of the spectrum are acceptable and which are deemed an abuse, or an unacceptable impact on another’s rights.

Our right to privacy is not and cannot be absolute. That doesn’t mean it can’t be very close to that end of the spectrum. However society needs to choose which way it leans, and how far. More towards absolute privacy impacts on the rights of victims to receive justice, and more towards a sole focus on criminal justice impacts on everyone’s privacy. Somewhere between those points is an acceptable balance, as there is with all rights, even the right to life (driving a car at armed police is a simple test).

It’s easy to say “I want total privacy” and leave it at that. I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment. Just remember that some other rights will be impacted by that choice. Failing to at least consider that and assess the choice in light of it is either pure selfishness, or in most cases a simple case of not realising. Either way, it’s not a great foundation on which to make a decision.

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