Many people have asked what can be done to support the natural right to privacy of correspondence. Here is what you can do:
- Write about this idea and link to this proposed amendment. See instructions below to have your post added to this page.
- Propose such legislation at whatever level of government you have sway. Ask your city, county, or state legislator to pass this amendment. If it is a natural right reserved to the states, the federal government would have to find something in the Constitution which explicitly gives them the power to abrogate this right to sustain their actions.
- Display a badge on your website showing others your support and how they can participate.
Our natural right to the privacy of correspondence should be neither increased nor decreased by either enumerating it or leaving it unenumerated.
However, the American court system today treats enumerated rights very differently from unenumerated rights. Our rights enumerated in the Constitution serve as a paper barrier. Government intrusions on those written words have rallied public outcry more effectively than invasions on our unenumerated natural rights.
Because we don’t have an enumerated right to the privacy of correspondence, the government can claim that the Fourth Amendment, which guards us against unreasonable search and seizure, doesn’t apply in this case. Or they can rewrite legislation that provides loopholes to allow their currently employed technologies. Or they can reroute information outside the country for content review by the intelligence community of one of our allies. In essence they can choose to declare legal whatever they want and continue to operate under the veneer of legality.
Therefore, we propose the following constitutional amendment to add the enumeration of this important natural right:
Everyone shall be entitled to secrecy of messages, both sent and received, by any means of communication. The freedom and confidentiality of correspondence in any form of communication shall be inviolable.
No federal, state or local government authority or their officials may collect or store correspondence or metadata on the transmission of correspondence without the expressed permission of all involved parties.
No public or private entity can pay for, promote, encourage, initiate or further the violation of this right. Exceptions to this provision shall be allowed only with the permission of the judicial authorities for the purpose of discovering or preventing a grave crime.
Citizens have the right to become acquainted with information about themselves held by federal, state and local government authorities, in federal, state and local government archives, or to which the federal, state or local government authorities have access, in accordance with procedures determined by law.
A constitutional amendment is a simple and direct response to the growing intrusion into personal freedoms. The vested interests of government officials have little in common with the protection of civil liberties. It is not unreasonable to fear the likely abuse of government surveillance. The natural right to the privacy of correspondence has popular support. Enumerating such a right will turn back the growing normalization of government surveillance.
Several states have ballot measures whereby citizens can directly propose such resolutions. Others will have to be introduced by willing state legislatures. If one state grants its citizens the right, it will begin to raise public awareness and support for the right to privacy of correspondence, as well as inevitably to raise the issue in the federal courts. If the right stands in one state, it would bar government surveillance of that state’s citizens. Equal protection laws might extend that right to other states as well.
Here is a list of articles supporting this idea. We will list anyone writing in support of this enumeration of the natural right to privacy of correspondence and linking to this page. Just add a link from your article to this page and then send us the URL using the comments at the bottom of this article. We will be notified of the comment needing moderation and add a link to your article.
- The Right to Privacy of Correspondence Is Inviolate
- Right to Privacy of Correspondence of Other Countries
- PRISM Would Have Jailed Thomas Jefferson Long Before 1773
- If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear
- Edward Snowden’s Motivations, In His Own Words
- Civilization Means Privacy by Ben O’Neill
- Human Right # 12: The Right to Privacy Video at United for Human Rights
- The Prison Camp of the United States Bill Colley
- Radio: The Right to Privacy of Correspondence
- Privacy of Correspondence by John Risselada, Save America Foundation.
- Why Christians Should Be Speaking Up about the Surveillance State by Ed Stetzer
- Snowden: Human Rights and Global Information Security by Alexander Mezyaev
- Why Privacy is Important by Ryan O’Shea
- Snowden – Evil Doer or Raising Alarm Kind of Paul Revere? by Andrei Akulov
- Badges Supporting The Right to Privacy of Correspondence
Given the current and past intrusions to our ELECTRONIC MAIL, much of which we may still not be aware of, I have the strong suspicion that all our SNAIL MAIL; which from the days even before the Constitution was sealed with wax and stamped with the individual’s coat of arms (your article’s logo) to prevent or at least to identify if an intrusion had been made; is now being routinely opened and read by the prying eyes of the government “authorities”.
In my view SNAIL MAIL, an information “packet” processing service owned and operated by a government agency (parallel think all the US government electronic communications agencies) with the power to store and forward during transit, should also be specifically included in the proposed Constitutional amendment.
I share your concern with where the government is headed with its exercise of power. Having just read, ” In The Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larsen, I am reminded how governments sneak up on gaining control over the governed. Let us all learn from history and be vigilant of our rights.