Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Right to privacy" controversial topic in Victoria

Contrarians - those who take an opposite view to most - can sometimes assist our understanding by raising a new and different perspective.

But what to make of "Privacy is the last thing we need" by Mirko Bagaric in The Age on Sunday?

In an opinion piece prompted by the recent HIV incident in Victoria, Dr. Bagaric says the
"right to privacy is the adult equivalent of Santa Claus and unicorns", "is destructive of our wellbeing" and "prevents us obtaining things that really matter, such as safety and security and makes us fear one another". Privacy is "no more than a request for secrecy - refuge of the guilty, paranoid and misguided, none of whom should be heeded in sorting through the moral priorities of the community".
There is a serious issue in getting the balance right when it comes to information about us and disclosure to others. But no one who has thought about the issue suggests there is any absolute right of privacy. Other considerations - including in the HIV case, the well being of others - need to be reflected in our laws, and given appropriate consideration as discussed in this editorial in The Age.

Dr. Bagaric seems prepared to ditch human rights generally - "humans don't need rights to flourish" he says - with little apparent regard for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and everything that has followed since 1948.

This isn't a contrarian view that will help along the debate about balancing the right to privacy and the circumstances in which others have a right to know.

This isn't the first time Dr. Bagaric has put forward a controversial view. We commented last year on his suggestion that everyone's criminal record should be publicly available.

The Age article says he is "a lawyer and author of Privacy Law in Australia and Human Rights in Victoria (with Peter Faris). This list of articles shows his contrarian approach is not limited to privacy - smacking children also seems to be on his list.

No comments:

Post a Comment