THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY - 09.20.2021
September 20, 2021
Good Monday morning. I'm author Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMAN SERIES posts.
Let me introduce you to the last two significant characters in my novel SKYWARD – Lexie and Kiana. This is from the beginning of Chapter 14 –
"I'm glad you invited me to this. It's fascinating," Norm said to Chris as they walked through the Silicon Valley Robotics Robot Block Party displays at the Circuit Launch complex in Oakland. The complex was just across the Bay from the Bowman mansion and provided co-working space for geeks involved with the Internet of Things, virtual reality devices, augmented reality, and other electronic hardware startups.
"I thought you would like it. It's unbelievable what my fellow roboticists have developed."
"I'll say. Some of them almost look human."
They stood in front of a display that looked like a kitchen, watching a robot make sandwiches. "I need that bot at my place. He makes a better sandwich than I do," said a tall attractive blond standing next to Norm. He looked up at her and responded, "He seems to have it down to a science."
"That he does. I think that's the idea."
Laughing, Norm replied, "Yeah, I guess that is."
"What's your interest in robotics?"
"I actually have a university degree in the subject. I design them."
"Interesting. Where did you go to school?"
"Your kidding. I just graduated from there."
"No, my degree is in Management Science and Engineering. But, I took a robotics course and want to get involved in that field. It's the future."
"Hi there," interrupted Chris. The girl did a double-take as she looked at him. "There's two of you."
"Yep. We're identical twins."
"What's your names?"
"I'm Chris, and this is Norm."
Looking at his watch, Norm asked, "Lexie, can my bother and I buy you lunch. It's about that time."
"Sorry, I was just headed to BART. I'm meeting my roommate for lunch over in San Francisco."
"Assuming your roommate is not a guy, how about us driving you over to the City and buy both you and your roommate lunch."
"Interesting. Let me made a phone call, and I'll let you know." After the call, Lexie walked back. "You're on. My friend is going to meet us in front of the Ferry Building."
As they drove across the Bay Bridge, Norm used his cell to make a reservation at the Waterfront Restaurant. Norm and Chris were a little surprised when Lexie's friend got into the car. "This is my roommate and best friend, Kiana." She was a beautiful African American, also over six feet tall.
"Stanford must be pairing up roommates by height, "said Chris.
"No, the Stanford woman's basketball team does," responded Lexie. "We were both starters on the team."
Chris looked back at both of them in the back seat. "Oh my God. I've watched you two play. And, yes, you were starters. Don't take this wrong, but you look different than I remember."
"Is that a good thing?"
"Oh yes. An excellent thing." Chris looked over at Norm for a second, then looked back at the girls. "On a scale of one to ten, you both hit my ten mark, and from the look on my bother's face, he agrees."
* * *
I couldn't think of a better introduction to the "right of privacy" than this – this CNN comment, "though it's also possible the crew members simply wanted to enjoy their experience privately, a luxury that astronauts on government-funded missions don't have."
CNN was referring to the return of Inspiration4 with its fully amateur, private space crew. They were launched into orbit on Wednesday successfully returned to Earth on Saturday. The CNN article starts by indicating that the crew "didn't share any updates with the public while they were up there, and the first live audio or visuals from inside the capsule came two days after launch, so it's not entirely clear how they were feeling during the mission."
In working on my novel SKYWARD, I realize that space allows considerable privacy if chosen from those on Earth (like the Inspiration4 crew), but little or no privacy (except for personal thoughts) while in the tight confines of any form of a space habitat.
SKYWARD, which tells the tale of establishing a space colony on the Moon, human survival must consider "Privacy" vs. "The Greater Good." Actually, this question has been asked for hundreds of years here on Earth.
The subjects of "privacy" and the "right to privacy" have recently been in the news frequently. This is principally because social media and companies such as FaceBook, Linked In, and Reddit can access the data they have collected and stored. And if they want to sell it to others. Or it can be hacked into. Additionally, CTV cameras have been installed by all kinds of organizations to monitor and analyze people. The United Nations has just released a warning of the growing and "potentially catastrophic" threat to privacy posed by facial recognition and data mining software.
China has taken facial recognition to an extreme. They have developed specific algorithms that allow the government to track their Muslim citizens. Their facial recognition system monitors nearly every human in China with a vast network of cameras. A 2019 report indicates how pervasive China's surveillance has become. It indicates that the system registered more than 6.8 million records in a single day, taken from cameras positioned around hotels, parks, tourism spots, and mosques.
Interestingly the United States Constitution does not contain any explicit right to privacy. In fact, the word "privacy" does not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. However, The Bill of Rights expresses James Madison's concerns and other framers of the Constitution for protecting specific aspects of privacy. For example, the 1st Amendment allows the privacy of beliefs, the third Amendment protects the privacy of the home against any demands to be used to house soldiers, the 4th Fourth Amendment protects the privacy of a person and possessions from unreasonable searches, and the 5th Amendment gives the privacy of personal information through preventing self-incrimination.
In case you were wondering, a UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR THE DIGITAL FUTURE survey indicates that Millennials are more willing than any other generation to post personal information online -- especially if they get something out of it. Privacy concerns seem to be age-related.
So, if "privacy" concerns you, remain on Earth, but not in China. But, if you want to venture into space, realize that privacy does not exist, except for your personal thoughts.
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright©2021 by Richard V. Rupp