Blackmail and goat-fucking

There are a lot of areas where I have strong intuitive libertarian beliefs. Free speech, taxes, guns, regulations, drugs, etc. As I've gotten older, I've tempered those intuitions with consequentalism and understanding of others having different intuitions, but restrictions on those issues still just make me mad, at a gut level.

But there is one big empty spot, a matter that many libs feel strongly about, and I just go "eh": Privacy. I was reminded of it today by a Theocrats post about John Roberts, which said that the NYT's inquiries into the legal status of Robert's adoptions were not proper, which I just found baffling.

I simply have no gut belief that privacy is valuable or should be protected as a right. Some people seem to have the intuition that information about A is A's property, or A has the right to restrict it, which makes very little sense to me. My intuition is that whoever discovers the information owns it (as much as information can be owned). If you, dear reader, find out (without being asked to sign an NDA) that I like to fornicate with goats, I find it almost incomprehensible that I should have a right to restrict what you do with that knowledge.

Now, I'm naturally going to be concerned with how you use the information, just as I'm concerned with whether an employer is going to offer me a job, or whether my favorite ice cream stand is going to close. But why should I have any special rights to that information? And why is it illegal for you to accept money to agree not to disclose it?

Of course, libertarians tend to get steamed mostly about information that business and governments know about them. With the latter, I am more sympathetic - force is used to make sure the goram state can track us. But if I use a credit card issued by some company, routing all my purchases through them, why should I have any rights to that information other than what our contract guarantees? Same with doctors, or any other professional.

I think another factor is that, being naturally blessed with a marked deficit of emotions like shame and embarassment, I find it quite natural to live an open life, with little concern for who learns what about me. The "rights" arguments above say nothing about what restrictions people should want in their contracts with people who learn sensitive information. But my natural openness is why I find the very concept of "sensitive" information to be somewhat baffling. So together, I neither understand why people should be allowed to have legal restrictions on information about them, nor why they would even want to.

But I'm an odd duck. (There, I mixedly murdered a metaphor Thomas Friedman-style - can you imagine a duck fucking a goat? Quack - Baa! Quack - Baa!)

BTW, while its been awhile since I read it, there is an interesting discussion about who owns information in Chapter IV of David Friedman's unpublished book Future Imperfect.

Share this

Jim: Would you agree or

Jim: Would you agree or disagree with the notion that there are conventions of confidentiality and secrecy the breach of which is immoral, independent of formal agreement? If someone shares with you that they have a medical problem, or a relationship issue, isn’t there an implied confidence, such that it is wrong to reveal that information to a third party without their permission?

That's tricky, because its a question of implied contract, and I've always been a bit leery of implied contracts. I am comfortable saying that if a person agrees not to tell ayone, then revealing the confidence is wrong. I'm not sure about implied confidences, it seems like a somewhat weak argument, but with some merit.

Corwyn: You lose me on the logic here. If a NDA is legal, it must be because you have some right to your information. Otherwise, I don’t see from where it is getting any legal force. If the information isn’t yours, you can’t control what I do with it, and since I don’t own it, I can’t be held responsible for what happens to it.

Not at all. There is no reason that a contract has to refer to things that we own. A contract which says I'll pay you $10 if you'll never borrow your brother's chainsaw seems utterly reasonable to me, even though neither of us own your brother's chainsaw. The contract is about what you'll do with your body, and surely you own that? Same with the NDA, its about what you'll say to people - and you own your tongue. We could sign a contract that says you'll never say the word strawberry - seems odd, but its still a contract.

Patri as a matter of natural

Patri as a matter of natural rights I share your outlook. If I know something about you, it's mine. It's a pattern in my brain. I can't willingly "unknow" it.

However I do think there some interesting complexities here.

For one, I might know some information about you that I only know because I committed a crime. I hacked your computer and got your password. Can I use the information? Does it matter if I didn't commit a crime to get the information - i.e. I covertly watch you type in your password?

Or, perhaps I punched you in the mouth and made a tape of it. Can I sell the tape? What if I merely subjected you to some experience that was humiliating for you, but not law-breaking?

And what about libel? What's wrong with me saying untrue things about you? Surely you have no absolute right to a reputation - that is, you have no right to have other people think of you in any specific way.

Here's another interesting wrinkle: let's say in future the technology becomes available to "unlearn" things, perhaps willingly, or perhaps not. Would that change anything?

It's reasons like the above that I just don't think natural rights works very well in the domain of reputation and information. Fortunately as an anarchist I believe the market will work things out. Some people will demand strong privacy "rights" (really privileges) and they'll pay for, and get them. Others like you won't, though I would hazard that forbidding other people from spreading untrue information about you and things that you have a reasonable expection of holding secret will be very affordable.

If you, dear reader, find

If you, dear reader, find out (without being asked to sign an NDA) that I like to fornicate with goats, I find it almost incomprehensible that I should have a right to restrict what you do with that knowledge.

You lose me on the logic here. If a NDA is legal, it must be because you have some right to your information. Otherwise, I don't see from where it is getting any legal force. If the information isn't yours, you can't control what I do with it, and since I don't own it, I can't be held responsible for what happens to it.

You are definitely, on the end of the curve when it comes to privacy. There are many things, I keep private for no other reason than they would hurt people if the got out. The 'if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide' has always struck me as reprehensible.

If someone shares with you

If someone shares with you that they have a medical problem, or a relationship issue, isn’t there an implied confidence, such that it is wrong to reveal that information to a third party without their permission?

Well it obviously depends on the person! Most people you know would probably not want the information shared, but others might not care. It's probably a good guess they will, but it's just that--a guess.

"Yes, the moral thing is

"Yes, the moral thing is definitely to protect them. This is touching on the “information release leading directly to crimes", which is a thorny issue I totally avoided in my original post. On the other hand, if I’m outing that a local businessman likes to fuck stuffed plushie goats, and he loses customers and suppliers because of it, I don’t see the problem. People are getting to make decisions based on more information - shouldn’t we like that, rather than judging their decisions?"

Would you agree or disagree with the notion that there are conventions of confidentiality and secrecy the breach of which is immoral, independent of formal agreement? If someone shares with you that they have a medical problem, or a relationship issue, isn't there an implied confidence, such that it is wrong to reveal that information to a third party without their permission?

I'm sort of the opposite I

I'm sort of the opposite I guess--I can see that as a consistent libertarian I must allow for the rights of blackmail and goat-fucking, assisted-suicide, penis-eating, cannibalism, incest, satan-worship, etc, but I'm still viscerally uncomfortable with doing so. Maybe our brains are constructed differently. :juggle:

Again, there is no necessary

Again, there is no necessary idea of shame here. Rather it’s the fact that most of us interact with people who represent a wide range of social norms; things that are acceptable to us, and reasonable within one set of norms, may render us outcast in another set.

First, that segregation perpetuates the social norms of intolerance. And second, I'm not arguing that you shouldn't care about who knows what about you, just saying that I find that nonintuitive. And more importantly, that I don't see why your caring is morally binding on others. I want a pony - that doesn't mean anyone has to buy me one. You want to keep your spheres separate - but why should other people help you do so if they don't feel like it?

Tangentially, I’m somewhat disturbed that you seem to think said senator’s sex life – dare I say his private life – is relevant to his ability to do his job. (After all, if it is not relevant, what basis do voters have for using it to discriminate?)

I haven't said that it's relevant. But his constitutents think it is relevant, and I don't see why anyone else gets to judge how voters pick someone to represent them. In a representative democracy, the morons get to roll their own dice and pick whatever dopes they think will steal them the most loot and make them feel the best. I don't think much of the system, obviously, but that's how it works.

And in that system, his sex life is relevant to doing his job. One way to look at his job is that it's to represent his constitutents. If his constituents don't feel he is representing them, isn't that failing at his job? And doesn't knowing more about someone, including their sex life, help you decide better whether they are representing you?

I'd feel more represented by a bisexual Senator than a heterosexual one, so I'd certainly like to know my Senator's sexuality.

Oh, and I forgot about

Oh, and I forgot about Micha's favorite topics of child-selling, polygamy, and coprophagia. :sweat:

What about cases where the

What about cases where the information is irrelevant except to a large bigoted group of people dominant in a geographical region–say, a closeted gay or atheist in the southern U.S.?

It seems to me that it is somewhat bigoted to regard their bigotedness as a preference which shouldn't get satisfied. That is, if there is a gay Senator in the bible belt, he is defrauding his constituents by hiding his gayness. Regardless of how we feel about their particular preferences, they are essentially being lied to.

On the other hand, if we're talking about outing someone in a community where that will get them killed, I might have to take a step back. If information release will lead to non-consensual actions, I'm willing to entertain the idea that it is sort of abetting the crime. ie tipping off the cops about a drug user or an illegal gambling game - or exposing a homosexual who gets lynched.

it certainly strikes me as often unethical (in a way that seems much less of a problem in the example you’ve chosen, where it involves an exposure of hypocrisy, and the act itself is probably immoral due to lack of consent from the goats).

Ah, I'm much more receptive to the idea that it is sometimes individually unethetical to reveal information. Although in the case of the goat-fucking (or even man-fucking) male Senator, I think I'm on the constitutent's side.

I’m getting close to invoking Godwin’s Law here, but what would you say about the ethics of revealing to the Nazis that the Frank family is hiding from the Nazis in a secret attic room? Isn’t the morally right thing to do in such a case to keep your mouth shut (and even lie) to protect them?

Yes, the moral thing is definitely to protect them. This is touching on the "information release leading directly to crimes", which is a thorny issue I totally avoided in my original post. On the other hand, if I'm outing that a local businessman likes to fuck stuffed plushie goats, and he loses customers and suppliers because of it, I don't see the problem. People are getting to make decisions based on more information - shouldn't we like that, rather than judging their decisions?

I'll second Peter's

I'll second Peter's reference to Brin. His way of looking at it really opened my eyes and clarified the problem for me.

I feel pretty much the same way as Patri -- I just don't have much of a problem with people knowing things about me, since I have nothing I'm ashamed enough of to really want to hide. I still oppose the more intrusive measures by the government though, because I prefer on principle to keep the state weak.

I don't know why privacy is

I don't know why privacy is such a big issue either, and especialy don't understand the idea of "right to privacy" that is bundled with most libertarian packaged thought.

My best guess is that guys don't want others to know how much time they spend looking at porn.

The NYT isn't violating

The NYT isn't violating rights, it's just ugly for them to be looking for personal dirt to derail an appointment they don't like.

The information that a

The information that a conservative Senator fucks goats may well destroy his reputation with his constituents - but he is in a sense defrauding them by hiding something they care about, why shouldn’t his reputation be destroyed?

The husband and I were talking about issues raised by this post earlier and your comment touches on one of them -- spheres of identity. Most of us -- perhaps not *you*, but most of us -- have different identities in different places, and would like some measure of separation to be maintained between them. In fact, we may require that some measure of separation be maintained between them in order to function properly. (Just as I needed separation between my teenage escapades and my work life to be able to do my job, and our hypothetical senator needs separation between his sex life and work to do his job.)

Again, there is no necessary idea of shame here. Rather it's the fact that most of us interact with people who represent a wide range of social norms; things that are acceptable to us, and reasonable within one set of norms, may render us outcast in another set.

I am not sure this can rise to the level of a *right* in that I don't see where, say, my being harassed by a group of 14-year-olds necessarily gives me power to smite anyone other than said 14-year-olds. But there is certainly a very legitimate *concern* in play, and that concern is worthy of a certain amount of respect.

Tangentially, I'm somewhat disturbed that you seem to think said senator's sex life -- dare I say his private life -- is relevant to his ability to do his job. (After all, if it is not relevant, what basis do voters have for using it to discriminate?) I am rather relieved that I do not have to be normal and safe and squeaky-clean in all possible ways to work with children, but it is *only* my ability to keep some aspects of my thought and personality private which enables other people to see my qualifications for the job, because the social norms in my profession are quite different from the social norms among my friends. Privacy is what protects us from the knee-jerk ignorance of clashing norms.

One would hope that a public

One would hope that a public figure's right to privacy would be a little less than the general public, so I agree with the spirit of your post, but I still would maintain that an individual's privacy rights should remain solidly in place. Depending on circumstance, it can be possible to destroy a person's reputation or business simply with information, and apparently, a statement doesn't always have to even be false to be considered libel or slander. For example, if you were to claim "Joe Bob's sister is an underage mallrat whore," you might still be successfully sued, even if his sister was verifiably known to be turning tricks in front of the GAP. Of course, in a world where everyone was a logical, open-minded libertarian, such laws would be highly unnessecary, and none of us would have to be ashamed of our own personal equivalent to goat-fucking escapades.

I recently encountered (and

I recently encountered (and participated in) this discussion about privacy and the ethics of Googling at a University of Arizona philosophy blog, titled "Is it unethical to Google people?":

http://www.arizonaphilosophy.com/?p=136

My position is similar to Andromeda's. I think most people agree that it's beneficial to have a sphere of privacy which it requires consent to invade. In a lot of cases (but all?), explicit contracts and my own practices can govern that (e.g., the disposition of my personal financial information, including account numbers and pass codes). There are very real risks in the Internet-connected world of identity theft, impersonation, harassment, and so forth which can be mitigated by recognizing a right of privacy that incurs liability when violated. One area of privacy enforced by statute is with respect to telemarketing--the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 gives a private right of action to individuals to pursue against telemarketers who engage in certain sorts of practices, such as initiating prerecorded calls to residential telephone lines or cell phones. I've personally found that law effective to the extent that the private right of action applies (and rather ineffective to the extent that it depends on government enforcement action, though the national Do Not Call list has also had a noticeable effect).

Patri writes: "The information that a conservative Senator fucks goats may well destroy his reputation with his constituents - but he is in a sense defrauding them by hiding something they care about, why shouldn’t his reputation be destroyed?" What about cases where the information is irrelevant except to a large bigoted group of people dominant in a geographical region--say, a closeted gay or atheist in the southern U.S.? While I don't believe outing someone as gay or an atheist is illegal (and I don't argue that it should be), it certainly strikes me as often unethical (in a way that seems much less of a problem in the example you've chosen, where it involves an exposure of hypocrisy, and the act itself is probably immoral due to lack of consent from the goats).

I'm getting close to invoking Godwin's Law here, but what would you say about the ethics of revealing to the Nazis that the Frank family is hiding from the Nazis in a secret attic room? Isn't the morally right thing to do in such a case to keep your mouth shut (and even lie) to protect them?

"The Transparent Society" is

"The Transparent Society" is an excellent novel about this. David Brin's hypothesis is that it is not a lack of privacy, but a difference in our two levels of privacy that is the problem. So, the secret to combatting an Orwellian future is to have it so everyone watches everyone independently. Then I can't steal anything without getting noticed and the cops can't beat me up without getting noticed.

When I think of privacy, I

When I think of privacy, I think of two important aspects:

1) The right to have a sphere which is safe from intrusion (or, at least, cannot be entered without your consent). This sphere might have to do with information and mind, or with space and property. I think the value of such spheres is fairly obvious.

2) The right to have some sort of control over information pertaining to you. This seems to be the bit about which you are "eh", and on that I have a few things to say...

...most people are not you when it comes to shame and openness. Even if you do not feel and cannot imagine discomfort when aspects of your life are revealed, others do.

...it doesn't matter if you believe in the dragon; it matters if the dragon believes in you. Information about which you are not ashamed may nonetheless transgresss social norms sufficiently to result in reprisal from others, and that reprisal may cause great personal difficulty regardless of whether you are ashamed of the initial action. I had precisely this problem myself when a group of my students, googling upon my name, discovered a part of my past which they deemed sufficiently weird that they felt it OK to essentially bully me. Although my Hammer of Teacherly Power was enough to put a stop to it, my ability to do my job and to feel safe at work was significantly impaired, and there is the continuing threat that this problem will resurface (given that the %*()#*% webmaster refuses to respond to my request to make the page less googlable...)

You recognize that there are privacy issues when the government is able to use personal information against you in a coercive way. Individuals and institutions can do the same thing -- using, perhaps, a different set of levers, but not necessarily a tolerable set.

You recognize that there are

You recognize that there are privacy issues when the government is able to use personal information against you in a coercive way. Individuals and institutions can do the same thing – using, perhaps, a different set of levers, but not necessarily a tolerable set.

I think Patri's point is not that violating privacy is ok when normal people do it but not ok when government does it. His position is rather that the coercion or threat of it in the activity is what's wrong, whether private individuals or government does it. It's hard to see how blackmail represents a form of coercion analogous to shooting someone, for example.

One would hope that a public

One would hope that a public figure’s right to privacy would be a little less than the general public

I disagree - I don't see any reason why either of them have a "right" to privacy. Why are they allowed to tell me what to do with information I have legally and consensually obtained?

Depending on circumstance, it can be possible to destroy a person’s reputation or business simply with information

This is certainly true, but I would consider the fact an argument *for* releasing the information, not *against*. The information that a conservative Senator fucks goats may well destroy his reputation with his constituents - but he is in a sense defrauding them by hiding something they care about, why shouldn't his reputation be destroyed?

You recognize that there are

You recognize that there are privacy issues when the government is able to use personal information against you in a coercive way. Individuals and institutions can do the same thing – using, perhaps, a different set of levers, but not necessarily a tolerable set.

Its the way the government *obtains* the information which is coercive that bothers me. It's also true that they may use the information coercively, ie throwing me in jail if they find out I've done something illegal. But I don't consider threatening the release of information to be coercive.

I can understand how you might find it a bummer to have information about you googled - but I don't see why you have any right to control its dissemination.

I can understand how you

I can understand how you might find it a bummer to have information about you googled - but I don’t see why you have any right to control its dissemination.

This is a side note Patri, but I thought you might find it interesting. Blackmail is not coercive in and of itself, as you point out, but in media it is often portrayed in connection with coercion, as in movies where shady business men blackmail other shady business men, etc. In Japan, for instance, a large segment of their pornography industry has a theme of "blackmail+rape", where some male authority figure (a teacher, doctor, business man, etc) uses blackmail against a helpless woman and then proceeds to rape her. So blackmail isn't rights violating, per se, but it is disgusting and certainly conducive to coercion.

"The information that a

"The information that a conservative Senator fucks goats may well destroy his reputation with his constituents - but he is in a sense defrauding them by hiding something they care about..."

What's wrong with defrauding voters? It's not like the election isn't a coercive criminal conspiracy anyway.

There are always default

There are always default rules, which apply to issues not explicitly spelled out in contracts. There are social conventions. You aren't seriously proposing that we should have signs and labels all over everything, like the Bat Cave in the original Batman TV series, which had a labeled "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City," are you? Why shouldn't well-understood social conventions have weight? (And they do, with penalties including being shunned, people refusing to interact with you, ending relationships, refusing to patronize your business, throwing you out of their business, etc.)

I find interesting your remark that "it is wrong, but it doesn't intrinsically violate rights (not every immoral thing is covered by libertarianism)." Do you distinguish between political philosophy and ethical philosophy in a manner similar to how you distinguish ethical philosophy from legal philosophy? Are there political rights which are distinct from moral rights which are distinct from legal rights? I'm clear on the distinction between moral and legal rights (and agree that they are not coextensive), but how do you draw the former distinction? (Or have I misunderstood and you are just drawing the moral/legal distinction?)

Is it legitimate to set up a

Is it legitimate to set up a covert video camera in your bedroom or bathroom, invite people over for a party, and then post the recordings on the internet? What if you run a business that’s open to the public? Is it legitimate to do that in your bathrooms? Or for a hotel to do it in its guest rooms?
On the position you are arguing for, there isn’t anything wrong with this behavior, is there?

Well it is wrong, but it doesn't intrinsically violate rights (not every immoral thing is covered by libertarianism). Patri is 100% correct; a 'reasonable expectation' of not being videotaped in someone's house is no different in principle from a 'reasonable expectation' not to look at the exterior of a neighbor's house, or to smoke a cigarette on your property.

There is an easy market solution though, one which Patri pointed out. Stores post signs declaring their intention that you are not permitted to carry firearms on their premises. Posting a sign to the effect of excluding recording devices is not really different in principle, and someone couldn't reasonably argue he didn't know about the policy if the sign was in plain sight. The key to any contract, implied or not, is to obtain voluntary consent, whether it be via signs, telephone calls, or smoke signals.

We could sign a contract

We could sign a contract that says you’ll never say the word strawberry - seems odd, but its still a contract.

ok, but we are talking about information, a slipperier concept than words. How would you write a contract which kept me from making your wife aware that you fuck goats? I could do it in myriad ways. For instance, if she received an email, which included a URL for this discussion, she read it and made the obvious conclusion, how would you write a contract which made me liable for that? In other words, not being able to say 'strawberry' would in no way make me incapable of conveying the concept of strawberry.

Additionally, if we are talking about life ruining information, enforcing the contract becomes problematic.

Corwyn to write a contract

Corwyn to write a contract for something hazy you need adjudication in the event that you end up in a grey zone. This is not hard. It's what judges do.

Corwyn to write a contract

Corwyn to write a contract for something hazy you need adjudication in the event that you end up in a grey zone. This is not hard. It’s what judges do.

It is when the point of the contract is to keep a secret. If you have an expectation of needing adjudication, the contract is pointless.

Not if the court can keep

Not if the court can keep the secret. We're talking about adjudication in the abstract, not necessarily the particular form we have in this society.

Patri, Privacy is valuable

Patri,

Privacy is valuable as a check on government power. The state has made zillions of things illegal that everybody does routinely, but they can't arrest you for what they don't know about. A culture that encourages privacy inflicts a large finding-things-out cost on those who would like to unreasonably impose their morality on others. With moderate privacy, most of the stupider laws that get passed are toothless for lack of effective enforcement. As the privacy presumption weakens, it gets relatively cheaper to enforce bad laws.

I think the Libertarian view

I think the Libertarian view would be that, unless the information is
A) gathered illegaly
B) used for blackmail
C) reworked such to lie about a peice of the information
D) used to perpetuate a crime against said person
E) used to perpetuate a crime against someone in the name of said person

all of which are illegal on their own, whether or not the information thought to be obtained is considered private information.

Sure, I wouldn't want someone to know my passcodes to my bank accounts, etc., but only because with that power they can commit the crime of stealing my money. If my bank decides to tell some lender my credit history, thats ok by me (even though it is in pretty rough shape in the moment, DAMN YOU unexpected expenses!).

as far as the government knowing "private" information, I feel there should be no reason for the government to require to know such information if it is abiding by the Constitution, if its not, then I can see many reasons why. If they want to try and prove I commited a crime and they have to gather "private" information about me to do so, then my crime has not affected anyone else and *should* be ignored.

"That’s tricky, because

"That’s tricky, because its a question of implied contract, and I’ve always been a bit leery of implied contracts. I am comfortable saying that if a person agrees not to tell ayone, then revealing the confidence is wrong. I’m not sure about implied confidences, it seems like a somewhat weak argument, but with some merit."

Is it legitimate to set up a covert video camera in your bedroom or bathroom, invite people over for a party, and then post the recordings on the internet? What if you run a business that's open to the public? Is it legitimate to do that in your bathrooms? Or for a hotel to do it in its guest rooms?

On the position you are arguing for, there isn't anything wrong with this behavior, is there?

I didn't say that I didn't

I didn't say that I didn't believe in implied contracts. I said that I was leery of them.

I agree that those examples all depend on implied contracts, and that without implied contracts, all those things would be considered OK. But I'd like to point out that w/o implied contracts, explicit contracts will evolve to cover these eventualities. Any AAA rated hotel would have to promise not to tape its guests in private spaces, for example.

On the other hand, I can see a consequentalist argument that says that having to write down contracts for common expectations is a bit of a waste of time. I'm just leery of being bound by contracts that I never signed which say what I can and can't do with my own property - doesn't that seem reasonable to be leery about? And a law which says I can't videotape anyone who comes into my house is exactly that.

What's the difference between that law and one which says I can't smoke dope in my house? Some might say someone coming to my party has a 'reasonable expectation' of privacy. Well, maybe my neighbors have a 'reasonable expectation' that I won't smoke dope. I'm not saying there is no difference - only that it isn't readily apparent to me.

Perhaps a better example would be my neighbors not expecting me to look at the exterior of their house, or when they walk by on the sidewalk. Or not to listen in on their cordless phone calls. As far as I'm concerned, any photons or electro-magnetic waves that come onto my property, I'll do whatever I goram want with.

(Or have I misunderstood and

(Or have I misunderstood and you are just drawing the moral/legal distinction?)

I think that's it, yes. I'm not arguing against the other, nonlegal punishments you mentioned (shunning, avoiding their business, etc), which I believe would be called-for and appropriate, but merely pointing out that libertarianism, strictly speaking, doesn't cover covertly taping people in the same sense that it doesn't cover verbal abuse toward your spouse, or betraying your friends, or abandoning your unborn child, or hoarding the One Ring (and don't tell me that Sauron 'owns' the One Ring either!). These are all horrible, disgusting behaviors, but there isn't any end to the number of horrible, disgusting behaviors that can be imagined on which libertarianism is neutral (see my first post on this thread).

Patri "I like to fornicate

Patri "I like to fornicate with goats" Friedman writes:
If you, dear reader, find out (without being asked to sign an NDA) that I like to fornicate with goats, I find it almost incomprehensible that I should have a right to restrict what you do with that knowledge.
Such as taking it out of context, casting you in a false light?
I'm wondering how this works with poker. Is it part of the wsop rules not to use high tech equipment to find out what the other's hole cards are? One reason I don't play power is I don't play any game for money where I don't know the rules.
Is that also part of the rules in an informal game you happen to run into somewhere?
It seems to me the game doesn't work without a reasonable expectation of privacy in one's hole cards. That doesn't mean we have to use rights as the enforcement mechanism. Patri is arguing against rights to privacy, at least as towards non-governmental actors. I'm unclear how he feels about social norms as the enforcement mechanism. Maybe he's relying on lessig-style code - use technology to guard any expectations of privacy you want to have.
I discuss goats, and defamation, http://vark.blogspot.com 8/10/05.
At http://ballots.blogspot.com 8/9/05 I discuss a case in which an anonymous poster reveals a city councilperson has Hepatitis C, and also makes false disparaging remarks. The issue is whether the court can order discovery of the identity of the poster.