“Not Private, Not Protected”

A brief comment, just for clarification; although the point being clarified isn’t trivial.

Colorado has a bill wending its way through the state legislature that would tighten restrictions on government access to an individual’s private information. The bill would refer

a question to voters in November asking whether law enforcement should get warrants to search electronic data, such as phone and email records, or personal data stored in a cloud. If approved by lawmakers and voters, the requirement would be added to the state constitution.

Senate President Morgan Carroll (D), who supports the bill/amendment had this to say about the matter:

I think a lot of people weren’t necessarily aware of how much their information may actually be not private, not protected.

No. Carroll’s heart is in the right place, but he misunderstands the crucial thing. Private and protected are not the same thing. It’s often (usually) necessary to protect private things, like our electronic data, but a lack of protection in no way eliminates the essential privacy of the thing. To give up privacy, a separate act is necessary: the thing must explicitly and affirmatively be placed into a public venue.

Even the act of explicitly and affirmatively placing the thing into the hands of a third party does not cancel the essential privacy of the thing: we expect that third party to take sufficient measures to protect, not just the thing itself, but its privacy also.

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