Today, state Rep. Neal Kurk attempts to make the case for changing New Hampshire’s Constitution regarding the right to privacy. We think he fails.
Kurk, a privacy zealot, says that in agreeing to Question 2 on Tuesday’s ballot New Hampshire would merely “update’’ our federal Fourth Amendment right to be free “... from unreasonable searches and seizures ...” for the information age.
This is an “update’’ that may come with a raft of unintended consequences.
It is also a lawyer’s relief act in which the true intention of the question’s framers will be parsed time and time again, creating all manner of new case law.
“An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent,’’ is a sentiment with which most people can agree. But applying it anew to our everyday lives is problematic, to say the least.
We need look no farther than the HIPPA act to see the possibilities for misuse.
HIPPA is now interpreted so narrowly that doctors refuse to let one order a prescription renewal for a spouse.
And government agencies misuse HIPPA to prevent the public from access to public information regarding the identity of accident victims.
No doubt, we are in a brave new world of high-tech, internet-connected life.
But thus far we think the 4th Amendment has served the people well in combating Big Brother.