Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

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Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:28 am

Who has a right to privacy? Ordinary citizens? People in important positions in government or the private sector? Celebrities? Do celebrities have the same right to privacy as ordinary citizens?
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:30 pm

fireflydances wrote:Who has a right to privacy? Ordinary citizens? People in important positions in government or the private sector? Celebrities? Do celebrities have the same right to privacy as ordinary citizens?

I think somewhat it depends on your own definition of privacy -- can I claim privacy if I am walking on a public street or driving on a public road? Should I expect privacy if I am using my credit card at the grocery store? Should everything I do in my own home be private? What if I am having an affair with the neighbor's husband? or fraudulently filling out a form? or planning to commit a crime during a phone call? Is privacy made up of newspaper headlines or does it also include such things as spam emails generated by my spending, which is not made known to the public? Privacy is a very big word.

In general, I think certain positions or occupations imply some loss of privacy. Government office is certainly one of those, but I would expect the mayor of my little town to have more privacy than the president of our country just because he is less influential. Celebrities certainly should understand that people find them interesting and that a certain amount of privacy is lost just because it goes with the job. But then, I suppose, one has to also define what constitutes a celebrity. That isn't always clear these days. :rolleyes:

I think sometimes what is termed an invasion of privacy is simply somebody acting inappropriately and using bad judgement or poor taste. By that I mean the photographer or blogger or other person who reveals another.

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby marija » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:10 pm

Yes Nebraska, I agree with you on many points .
I also believe that every person has different ideas of his privacy. Anyone can in my opinion, determine his personal boundary itself.
I mean that even celebrities , politicians, church leaders and so on , important and not so important people, the right to privacy have.
I do think also, that such high-profile people should ask the public interest to dispose more of their private lives as "normal" people, when it is because of their profession needed. Our last president , Christian Wulf for example, has stumbled upon his dishonest private businesses . If he were not the President of Germany , the public would probably know nothing about it. In this case , I think the public HAS the right to know of his private behavior.
Johnny Depp choses the right way to deal with the media, I believe. He gives the public the opportunity to participate in his professional life, but leaves out his private life only as much as he wants. Right now, I think he targeted the press, and thus to the world shows how he is about Amber ... maybe in the hope that the hunt becomes lesser.
I wish him and all public people enough privacy ... just as the non-public people.
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:37 pm

It’s a question that’s answer is complicated. It depends, as nebraska pointed out.

I think everyone deserves the right to privacy within their own home. I think everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt that they are not doing anything within that home which would be considered hurtful to those within the home or those outside the home.

As we all know, there can be suspect activities going on within the home. If these are suspected, then a legal document (called a warrant) is warranted, as it were. For more urgent situations, it is not required. But these warrants are for law enforcement personnel, NOT for the press.

Celebrities have to expect that in public they won’t have privacy. It comes with the territory. Is it right that the pap follow them relentlessly? No. But I don’t think it’s something that should be policed.

Finally, those who hold public office (like Christian Wulf) are held to a higher standard and thus a higher level of scrutiny because they are responsible for and to us, the people. Thus, they should have the least privacy of all.

I think that when you decide to be a public figure, you trade your privacy for public recognition. You had to know what you were getting into when you signed up.

But in the case of us normal citizens, when you didn’t ask for public recognition, you have a right to privacy – even in public.
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:22 am

Okay, I have some strong opinions on the topic. Here goes. I guess there are basically two types of privacy. Privacy of information and privacy of the person. The privacy of our information is under pretty heavy assault but so far, and so far people haven't pulled back. We use our credit cards and our phones and our GPS etc. We know our information passes through many hands, electronic eyes may watch us our in public but we have reached a truce I guess.

With regard to the privacy of the person I mean when we go out we are free to move through our day surrounded by a small bubble of private space. For many of us I bet some of our most peaceful moments are out in the eye of the public -- sitting and having a coffee, taking out our laptop and working, just sitting on a park bench -- we join with everyone who passes us or sits with us in respecting the bubble, and being sensitive to each other's body language. It is a lovely thing. I don't know that any of us would enjoy losing that private space.

About twenty years ago my family and I were in China to meet my youngest daughter. We brought our older daughter along. She was an adorable blond haired little kid with big blue eyes. Something amazing happened. Wherever we traveled she became the magical child. She collected a crowd no matter where we went. People followed her up the street. On a bus ride crowds gathered at street corners to cheer her. We were asked again and again if her picture could be taken. She even attracted negative experiences. Some people didn't want to see Americans in China and I guess she was a symbol for what they didn't want to happen. It was a draining experience. My daughter was fascinated exactly one day and then she just wanted to be left alone. We felt we were a traveling parade during our time in China.

When we came home the tides seemed to reverse and me and my younger child, whenever we went out, whatever we were doing, became the center of attention -- people found a reason to walk up and start talking to me with no introduction whatsoever, asking personal questions, giving often unwanted advice. making assumptions that sometimes got altogether ridiculous. The barrier of the bubble was gone. We were just too interesting, too unusual to be able to maintain that tiny social isolation. My privacy, my family's privacy was decreased. Even if people didn't approach, you would look up and they would be staring at you. There were times when I didn't want to be modeling international adoption or whatever else was on someone's mind. I just wanted to eat my bagel and cut up the little ones banana.

What I experienced, what my daughters experienced was very minor. A blimp in our privacy wall. I got used to it but it really did change my perspective on how comforting it is to travel privately and know that privacy will be respected. And I never had to deal with the assaultive presence of the media.

One more memory. New York, 1970-1980s. It was not unusual to run into actors on the street. But there was a rule observed by most everyone: say hello or nod your head and keep walking. Don't make that actor feel invaded, feel exposed and unable to get in that important "space time" out in public. The social contract held.

It's a shame that this rule has gone by the wayside. The new standard says anything goes. Approach and ask, be persistent. Get your phone out, take the photo. I know the change is due to the prominence of "celebrities" -- everyone appearing on TV is a celebrity. I know that the idea of the celebrity has become objectified -- the celebrity IS an object. And I realize this has to do with the pervasiveness of their image. We see the celebrity brand and not necessarily the very ordinary man or woman who remains at the core of their identity. I think it's excessive. I don't think its healthy. I am a fan that is uncomfortable with what happens out in public.

I think our reliance on image, and the number of pictures our kids pose for and take of each other with all their electronic devices over exposes them. We are reducing the value of our image. I think we are slowly eroding our privacy in public. We are more and more objects, less and less private people.
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby MaggyCutler » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:41 am

Technology has removed any simple expected right to privacy that we had when it put cameras on every phone. People have lost respect for our personal space. Social media has convinced people that posting where you are, photos of your kiddies and yourself -your home -your new car and so on is fine and besides - everyone does it! Be connected -be popular - have lots of friends online.

My DH is a luddite, we still have clamshell phones - not smart phones. We've never banked or paid bills on line, we don't use debit cards - credit cards are only for emergencies. We don't put personal information out there. After the big mess at Target at Christmas, we are glad we don't use plastic. We don't willingly give up any more privacy than we have to. Enough is being taken from us as it is. :-/

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:27 pm

I am of the same tribe as your husband -- protective of anything that might impinge on my privacy. I do wish that our legislatures would stop squabbling enough to pay attention to the change in the weather around us. I wish for a national discussion on technology and privacy, and one focused on corporate entities as much or perhaps even more than the dreaded NSA. I am more concerned about what Google is doing than what the federal government is doing.
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby shaman-art » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:36 pm

fireflydances wrote:I am more concerned about what Google is doing than what the federal government is doing.


Hm, I think that depends on where you live. I'm not a friend of Google either and I don't want my own government spy on me. We Germans have a history of secret police organizations: First the Gestapo of Nazis, then the Stasi of Communists.
As far as possible I avoid giving out any personal data. But you can't do much without leaving digital traces. As soon as you have job, a bank account or even see a doctor your data is collected somewhere.
But right now here in Germany we find ourselves in a situation where not only our own government is collecting our data. Nope. Because of the fact that Google, Facebook, Yahoo ... are all US based companies the NSA has access to our data as well. And we don't have a chance to stop it. Even if we here in Germany decide to use only European based companies, there's still the British GCHQ that dutifully delivers everything to the NSA. I don't care what they do inside the US (or UK). But they are violating my rights without having any reasonable suspicion against me or 99.999999% of the internet users around the world. They are violation the local law of many countries and the governments have no chance to do anything against it.

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby Buster » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:09 pm

I'm not sure where I stand on this. It is easy to want privacy for myself, and yet expect transparency from elected officials. Does my personal life concern anyone else, as long as I am doing no harm to others? Does a politician's personal life matter as long as she is carrying out the wishes of her constituents?
Does anyone have a right to privacy? It seems to be something we wish for, but actually do not have. We console ourselves with the illusion of privacy...
Perhaps celebrities actually have a more realistic world view - they know they are being watched, and can be forthcoming or not, with a full understanding of the potential for invasion.

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:49 pm

I guess I can’t agree with a double standard for public figures vs. the rest of us. Why should those who are famous be held to different rules? I think any and all criminal activity (bribery, extortion, sexual harassment, embezzlement, corruption, etc.) should always be scrutinized and investigated. And I think anything that’s not criminal (extra-marital affairs, sexual orientation, etc.) should always be allowed to remain private. And in thinking it over, yeah, I guess I’d like to see the paparazzi shut down. :fear: Don't hit me.


Certainly public figures knew what they were getting into, but why should they have to put up with the invasion of privacy if they don’t want to? Generally speaking, I think those who crave attention are drawn to the public life. The unfortunate flipside of this is that those who don’t want attention, who would never consider putting themselves and their families through the ordeal, will never enter public service. It seems if we could somehow find a balance, somehow restore “civil behavior” in the media and elsewhere, then I think we’d see a lot more people willing to serve in public office, and I think it would encourage a different, hopefully better, type of politician.

Regarding technology, ok, so we’ve hit the point where it’s almost impossible to travel without a credit card - airlines, trains, buses, hotels, rental cars all require one. Use cash at the store and people immediately assume you’re either an illegal immigrant or a criminal, maybe even a terrorist. Schools expect all students to have internet access at home and all parents to have email. Our school district is using Facebook to post event information and reminders, and Google documents are incorporated into classwork. Textbooks are online. Soccer and little league coaches rely on texting to send out last minute schedule changes. Yes, you can live without the all these things, but the more you forego the technology, the more you remove yourself from mainstream society. It seems we’re almost at a tipping point. I can definitely understand not wanting to participate in the technological revolution, but in the very near future, I think to do so completely will require something akin to living as the Amish do – in a completely separate society.

Somebody cue the Transcendence trailer. :spin:

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:51 am

Lots of food for thought here, RR. :-O
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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby shaman-art » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:48 am

RamblinRebel wrote:I guess I can’t agree with a double standard for public figures vs. the rest of us. Why should those who are famous be held to different rules?


At least in the digital world there aren't any different rules. You are leaving your marks whenever you are using something that's connected to a computer - no matter if you're a 'normal' person or a celebrity.
The only difference might be if this data is checked by a real person a name like Johnny Depp will raise eyebrows while Peter Smith most likely will not.
So I think not the computer and the collection of information are the problem. It's the people behind who make the rules how to use this enormous power.

Digital or real world: I think celebrities should be treated like the rest of us. We all should have the right to let's say pick our noses in public without being photographed.

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby MaggyCutler » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:12 am

RamblinRebel wrote:I guess I can’t agree with a double standard for public figures vs. the rest of us. Why should those who are famous be held to different rules? I think any and all criminal activity (bribery, extortion, sexual harassment, embezzlement, corruption, etc.) should always be scrutinized and investigated. And I think anything that’s not criminal (extra-marital affairs, sexual orientation, etc.) should always be allowed to remain private. And in thinking it over, yeah, I guess I’d like to see the paparazzi shut down. :fear: Don't hit me.


Certainly public figures knew what they were getting into, but why should they have to put up with the invasion of privacy if they don’t want to? Generally speaking, I think those who crave attention are drawn to the public life. The unfortunate flipside of this is that those who don’t want attention, who would never consider putting themselves and their families through the ordeal, will never enter public service. It seems if we could somehow find a balance, somehow restore “civil behavior” in the media and elsewhere, then I think we’d see a lot more people willing to serve in public office, and I think it would encourage a different, hopefully better, type of politician.

Regarding technology, ok, so we’ve hit the point where it’s almost impossible to travel without a credit card - airlines, trains, buses, hotels, rental cars all require one. Use cash at the store and people immediately assume you’re either an illegal immigrant or a criminal, maybe even a terrorist. Schools expect all students to have internet access at home and all parents to have email. Our school district is using Facebook to post event information and reminders, and Google documents are incorporated into classwork. Textbooks are online. Soccer and little league coaches rely on texting to send out last minute schedule changes. Yes, you can live without the all these things, but the more you forego the technology, the more you remove yourself from mainstream society. It seems we’re almost at a tipping point. I can definitely understand not wanting to participate in the technological revolution, but in the very near future, I think to do so completely will require something akin to living as the Amish do – in a completely separate society.

Somebody cue the Transcendence trailer. :spin:


DH and I have credit cards, we choose when to use them and don't rely on them, I don't care what people I don't know think about us. We don't have a lot of debt. We have email, internet, satellite TV, but DH and I don't use social media. We do have texting enabled on our phones, we aren't left out of things and are socially active in our community and in our church. We travel when and where we want, using plastic to our advantage - when needed. We just don't put more personal information about ourselves and our families and our lives out there than we have to.

We are at a tipping point and we have chosen not to add to the tipping. Our kids want to be on Facebook for school and we let them have it on the family computer using fake (cute) names, they aren't allowed to post photos of what they are doing, or where we are - we use it for them for school activities and sports information, but we've seen too much negativity out there, bullying and the like. We monitor their online time and monitor their Facebook accounts. They know it- and more importantly their friends know it. They do have phones but no internet on them, yes they complain, but they also have a safe parameter around them. Its interesting to see how much their friends love to come here, there's always extra bodies at meal times, there's structure and a family life that many of them don't have at home -sure it's tough sometimes - but our kids are happy, active and so far - well adjusted.

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:51 pm

MaggyCutler wrote:DH and I have credit cards, we choose when to use them and don't rely on them, I don't care what people I don't know think about us. We don't have a lot of debt. We have email, internet, satellite TV, but DH and I don't use social media. We do have texting enabled on our phones, we aren't left out of things and are socially active in our community and in our church. We travel when and where we want, using plastic to our advantage - when needed. We just don't put more personal information about ourselves and our families and our lives out there than we have to.

We are at a tipping point and we have chosen not to add to the tipping. Our kids want to be on Facebook for school and we let them have it on the family computer using fake (cute) names, they aren't allowed to post photos of what they are doing, or where we are - we use it for them for school activities and sports information, but we've seen too much negativity out there, bullying and the like. We monitor their online time and monitor their Facebook accounts. They know it- and more importantly their friends know it. They do have phones but no internet on them, yes they complain, but they also have a safe parameter around them. Its interesting to see how much their friends love to come here, there's always extra bodies at meal times, there's structure and a family life that many of them don't have at home -sure it's tough sometimes - but our kids are happy, active and so far - well adjusted.
I don't know if I'm reading correctly, but I truly hope you don’t think I was in any way being critical about your personal choices or that I find them odd, because I don’t. Quite the opposite - I admire the care with which you are making your life decisions. In fact it sounds like you and I have very similar rules when it comes to the parameters we put around our kids’ technology use. And it sounds like you’ve found a good balance that’s working really well for you and your family, which is absolutely wonderful.

We know another family who is trying – with great difficulty - to raise their children without having an internet connection in the home. Not for financial reasons, but as a personal choice. The mom finally gave in and got a smart phone for herself so that she can have access to email, the school newsletter and everything else. But the kids stay after school or go to the library for their internet related work. I believe the school district gives out CDs of online textbooks if you don’t have a home connection. (Of course you still need a computer). At this point, if they really didn’t want their kids online at all I think their only choice would be to home school them. And honestly, thinking about them is what made me correlate the whole situation to the Amish. I can only imagine it must have been a somewhat similar situation that led to the decisions that the Amish made so long ago. In my opinion, for all practical purposes, we’ve already lost the freedom to choose whether or not to ‘connect’. Now it becomes a matter of defining boundaries. And I guess that scares me a little. (Sidenote: I also have tremendous respect for the Amish, and admittedly, I know almost nothing about luddites. I certainly didn't mean to imply anything, so my sincerest apologies if I in any way offended you with my comments!).

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Re: Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Question #6: Who Has The Right?

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:15 pm

I absolutely love the conversation we've been having here. ONBC at its best!
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies


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