Private! Keep Out! No Trespassing!
MAN goes to great lengths to protect his privacy. Some will build high walls around their domain to ensure their privacy. Others will situate their homes on mountaintops or in deep forests or miles off main roads in order to be left alone. City dwellers may rent apartments on the highest floors, have unlisted telephone numbers, and conceal identities by using aliases or by wearing disguises.
Privacy means different things to different people. A wife may wish time alone from her husband. Husbands, too, at times may insist on their own “time and space.” Even young children desire their privacy. Often a room of their own represents a haven of privacy.
There are those who would put a tap on your telephone and listen to your most private and intimate conversations in your home or office. Your every move can be monitored in locker rooms of schools, factories, and offices and recorded on videotape. By the use of laser beams aimed at the outside of your windowpanes, your conversations within can be picked up and recorded by eavesdroppers down the street. Computers are now being used to monitor your activities in the workplace. What you write on your office typewriter may now be read on a monitor miles away by those who would hold against you the things you write. Neither is the cover of darkness a guarantee of privacy. With cameras that function effectively in the dark, your every move can be tracked while you walk around outside at night. If you resent your spouse opening the mail addressed to you, what would be your reaction to those who would trespass on your privacy by reading your mail without opening it?
You may resent being asked to take a lie-detector test in order to secure employment. But a similar test may be given you across the desk by an interviewer—without your being aware of it—through the use of a voice analyzer, which supposedly can recognize if you are not telling the truth.
Businesses and giant corporations are losing top secrets through an invasion of privacy by unscrupulous competitors. As a result of high-tech surveillance systems developed in recent years, nations and world powers find it almost impossible not to have their national privacy invaded by other nations worlds away. Spy-in-the-sky satellites equipped with high-resolution cameras can photograph from outer space as small a thing as a baseball and can identify a man in a crowd merely by the shape of his beard.
It is obvious that man’s privacy, “the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men,” could rapidly be a freedom in jeopardy, as the next article will show.