Sunday, September 15, 2013

Watching inside your house with infrared and reading your emails

A while back, on Claire Wolfe's blog, the discussion was about privacy.  I agreed with those who said that, while irritating, I (and my property) had no right to not be looked at or photographed while outdoors, or in public.

I added: "Now, if they use infrared (or anything else) to see inside my house, that’s another issue. It’s the difference between what I have in the open and clearly visible, and what I have concealed on my property." (link to full comment)
Then, Thomas Knapp said: "I have to disagree with Kent on infra-red. My ability to generate heat does not in any way create an obligation on the part of others not to look at the heat I generate."

I realized where he was coming from and decided I had been wrong initially.

But... I keep thinking about something else connected to this and it keeps nagging me... and I hope Thomas Knapp weighs in on this again.

What's the difference between being watched inside your home with an infrared camera, and having your emails, phone calls, and internet usage watched and analyzed?  It seems to me to be different manifestations of the same kind of behavior.  If it's OK to watch people inside their homes with infrared, then wouldn't it be OK to read their emails and other "private" communications?  And if it is wrong to read your neighbors' private emails, wouldn't it also be wrong to watch them inside their homes?

There seems to be a connection there.  If I am wrong about that, I would like to know why.