Topics in the News: Privacy

Rand Paul on Technology : Dec 8, 2013
4th Amendment bans NSA from collecting everyone's phone data

Q: The NSA collects 4 billion cell phone records outside the country every day. How severely would you like to restrict the surveillance by the National Security Agency?

PAUL: I would like to apply the Fourth Amendment to third-party records. I don't think you give up your privacy when someone else holds your records. So, when I have a contract with a phone company, those are still my records. And the government can look at them if they ask a judge. But the most important thing is, a warrant applies to one person. A warrant doesn't apply to everyone in America. So, it's absolutely against the spirit and the letter of the Fourth Amendment to say that a judge can write one warrant and you can get every phone call in America. That's what's happening. I think it's wrong. It goes against everything America stands for. And I will help to fight that all the way to the Supreme Court.

Q: So, you would ban mass data mining?

PAUL: I'm not opposed to the NSA. But I am in favor of the Fourth Amendment.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney on Technology : Sep 4, 2012
Net Neutrality imposes government as a central gatekeeper

OBAMA: It is essential that we take steps to strengthen our cybersecurity and ensure that we are guarding against threats to our vital information systems, all while preserving Americans' privacy, data confidentiality, and civil liberties.

ROMNEY: Unfortunately, Pres. Obama has chosen to impose government as a central gatekeeper in the broadband economy. His policies interfere with the basic operation of the Internet, create uncertainty, and undermine investors and job creators. Specifically, the FCC's "Net Neutrality" regulation represents an Obama campaign promise fulfilled on behalf of certain special interests, but ultimately a "solution" in search of a problem. The government has now interjected itself in how networks will be constructed and managed, picked winners and losers in the marketplace, and determined how consumers will receive access to tomorrow's new applications and services. The Obama Administration's overreaching has replaced innovators and investors with Washington bureaucrats

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: The Top American Science Questions, by

Gary Johnson on Homeland Security : Aug 1, 2012
Patriot Act is a direct assault on privacy & due process

While many of our liberties are threatened by a government grown too large and too intrusive, there are some fundamental freedoms that are under particular threat. The Patriot Act, for example, is a direct assault on both privacy and the due processes of law. It should be repealed.
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.144

Nikki Haley on Immigration : Apr 3, 2012
Audit businesses to see if using E-Verify

We already had a strong anti-illegal immigration bill when I became governor. All I wanted to do was enforce it. Our law required businesses to prove they weren't hiring illegal aliens by using, among other methods, a federal database called E-Verify.

The problem is, for E-Verify to work government has to know whether employers are actually using it. Obama's Department of Homeland Security told us we could no longer audit businesses to check if they were using E-Verify. The privacy of the people being checked, they said, would be compromised if we asked for proof from businesses. Out of the more than 6,000 businesses they had checked, over 2,000 violations had been found. But no more. Now the federal government was saying that we couldn't use the best and most efficient means we had to enforce our law.

My goal wasn't to overburden employers with rules and regulations. I just wanted to use the easiest and least costly way, to ensure we weren't employing illegals, and that was E-Verify.

Click for Nikki Haley on other issues.   Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.211-212

Ben Carson on Technology : Jan 24, 2012
Respect privacy; don't use info from post-9-11 monitoring

Since 9/11 it has become increasingly important to monitor all suspicious activity in an attempt to prevent another terrorist attack. One of the results of this monitoring has been the discovery of some unsavory habits and characteristics of many otherwise outstanding citizens. To its credit, our government has not disclosed those findings or prosecuted the involved individuals because we still respect the right of all of our citizens to privacy as long as they are not infringing upon the rights of others. I realize that many "holier than thou" conservatives and even some liberals think we should use all gathered information about people they don't care for, to discredit them. If and when this begins to happen, our country will become a nightmare akin to George Orwell's novel "1984". We must jealously guard every American citizen's right to live as they please, again as long as they are not interfering with the rights of other Americans to do the same.
Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.181-182

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Jan 7, 2012
States shouldn't ban contraception; and no state wants to

Q: [to Romney] Sen. Santorum has been very clear in his belief that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution. And following from that, he believes that states have the right to ban contraception. Now I should add that he said he's not recommending that states do that.

SANTORUM: No, let's be clear. We're talking about the 10th Amendment and the right of states to act.

Q: Gov. Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

ROMNEY: I can't imagine a state banning contraception. I can't imagine the circumstances where a state would want to do so, and if I were a governor of a state or a state legislature, I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception.

SANTORUM: The Supreme Court created through a penumbra of rights a new right to privacy that was not in the Constitution. I believe it should be overturned.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Rick Perry on Abortion : Nov 15, 2010
The right to privacy is fictitious

The Court decided in 1963 that the people of Connecticut were unconstitutionally outlawing the sale of contraceptives, because--it imagined--in the "penumbras" of the Constitution there is a right to privacy that prohibits that policy. Penumbras? What total and complete nonsense. The justices made a policy and then made something up in the Constitution to effectuate it.

Eight years later the Court found that this "right to privacy" extends to the right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy --a rather tepid euphemism for ending the life of the unborn baby. In what can only be described as an arrogant commitment to itself--an ode to its own legitimacy, if you will--the Court actually touted its self-given "authority to decide [the people's] constitutional cases and speak before all others for their constitutional ideals." I assume the Court would like us to say thank you, but I also assume that the 52 million or so unborn children who never had a shot at the American dream may beg to differ.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.107-108

Mike Bloomberg on Crime : Sep 28, 2010
OpEd: never a conspicuous civil libertarian

New Yorkers, most of them still Democrats, objected to Bloomberg's handling of the 2004 Republican National Convention, when 1,800 people were arrested and held in a large detention center, some guilty of no more than standing on a street during a police sweep. Never a conspicuous civil libertarian, the mayor brusquely dismisses the issue of the treatment of demonstrators, and privacy in general, justifying himself and his Police Department: "There's a camera watching you at all times when you're out in the street; the civil liberties issue has long been settled," he says.

As he sees it, those who were arrested put themselves at risk and in effect got what they deserved because the police were reacting to threats. 5 years after the convention, the city had spent $6.6 million to defend the lawsuits, an additional $1.7 million to settle 90 claims and still faced lawsuits filed by hundreds of plaintiffs. About 90% of the people arrested had their charges dismissed outright or dropped after 6 months.

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p.154-155

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Sep 1, 2010
Warrantless searches overstep Constitutional powers

In the last nine years, the Federal Government has expanded the scope of its power at an alarming rate, while blatantly ignoring the Constitution. Whether it's passing the 315 page Patriot Act without a single member of Congress ever reading the bill, proposing a National ID Card, establishing FISA courts and utilizing warrantless searches, or betraying the medical privacy of ordinary citizens, the Federal Government has overstepped its limited powers as stipulated in the Constitution.
Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "issues"

Marco Rubio on Abortion : Feb 3, 2010
No right to privacy, that resulted in the Roe v. Wade

I support judges who will respect the rule of law, strictly interpret our Constitution and not legislate from the bench. I opposed Judge Sonia Sotomayor [based on] her case history and testimony regarding the Second Amendment at the state level, eminent domain takings and the so-called constitutional right to privacy that resulted in the Roe v. Wade decision. Together, these and other cases point to a nominee who would bring an activist approach to the highest court in the land.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues"

Mike Huckabee on Abortion : Nov 18, 2008
No state-by-state decisions on moral issues like abortion

Roe v. Wade simply took the issue of protecting human life from the jurisdiction of individual state law and added a new level of protection in the name of privacy at the federal level. [If abortion were] a political issue, then it would be logical for the issue to be decided by the individual states--but it is a moral issue. The right to life is a fundamental right that does not--CANNOT--vary from state to state. The very idea of each and every state having a different standard of morality as it relates to the sanctity of life is ludicrous.

In the 1860s, states in the South believed that each state should set its own terms for how to deal with the issue of slavery. Wise and principled leaders insisted that this could not be treated as a political issue but would have to be dealt with as a moral issue.

It's my hope & prayer that we will also come to an inescapable conclusion that it is equally irrational to believe that human life can mean something different in each of the 50 states.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p. 42-43

Sarah Palin on Abortion : Oct 1, 2008
Constitution does offer an inherent right to privacy

Q: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

A: I do. Yeah, I do.

Q: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

A: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Joe Biden on Abortion : Oct 1, 2008
Constitution does offer an inherent right to privacy

Q: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

A: I think the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment offers a right to privacy. Now that’s one of the big debates that I have with my conservative scholar friends, that they say, you know, unless a right is enumerated--unless it’s actually uses the word “privacy” in the Constitution--then no such “constitutional right” exists. Well, I think people have an inherent right.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Barack Obama on Drugs : Aug 14, 2007
A “secret smoker”, especially around reporters

There was a reason besides personal privacy why Obama had been so resistant to my presence [while preparing this book]: Obama was a secret smoker--and he did not want to light up in front of a reporter. Some politicians are comfortable smoking in front of the media or in public, while others believe the habit will reflect poorly on their public image. Obama was in the latter group, almost to an obsessive degree.

The public portrait of Obama now bordered on saintly, especially for a politician. Learning that he smoked might tarnish this picture. So Obama went to great lengths to conceal the habit.

It really came as no surprise to me that Obama smoked. His wife mentioned in our interview that Obama had a cigarette dangling from his lips on their first lunch together. He had written in Dreams from My Father about smoking in the college dorms. But most telling, like most smokers, he occasionally smelled of tobacco.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.258&272-273

Joe Biden on Abortion : Apr 26, 2007
Nominees should agree on constitutional right to privacy

Q: As president would you have a specific litmus test question on Roe v. Wade that you would ask of your nominees for the high court?

A: I strongly support Roe v. Wade. I wouldn’t have a specific question but I would make sure that the people I sent to be nominated for the Supreme Court shared my values; and understood that there is a right to privacy in the United States Constitution. That’s why I led the fight to defeat Bork, Roberts Alito, and Thomas.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
Homeland security must protect citizens, not intrude on them

Every democracy is tested when it is faced with a serious threat. As a nation we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power. What protects us are the procedures we put in place to protect that balance, namely judicial warrants and congressional review. These are concrete safeguards to make sure surveillance hasn’t gone too far.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 99

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
Personal privacy must be protected even in terrorism age

Americans fought a revolution in part over the right to be free from unreasonable searches, to ensure that our government couldn’t come knocking in the middle of the night for no reason. We need to find a way forward to make sure that we [stop] terrorists while protecting the privacy and liberty of innocent Americans.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p.132

Marco Rubio on Technology : Nov 1, 2006
Protect against identity theft with privacy opt-in

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio

Sarah Palin on Education : Jul 31, 2006
Let parents opt out of schoolbooks they find offensive

Q: Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?

A: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire

Hillary Clinton on Civil Rights : Jun 16, 2006
Pushing for privacy bill of rights

Hillary Clinton urged creation of a “privacy bill of rights” to protect people’s personal data. Clinton’s speech on protecting consumers from identity theft and citizens from government snooping was the latest in a series of talks billed as “major addresses” by aides. Previous speeches were on energy and the economy. A potential presidential candidate in 2008, Clinton noted her work on a House committee investigating the Nixon administration’s illegal snooping and other abuses.

Clinton said any president should have the latest technology to track terrorists, but within laws that provide for oversight by judges. “The administration’s refrain has been, ‘Trust us,’” Clinton said. “That’s unacceptable. Their track record doesn’t warrant our trust. Unchecked mass surveillance without judicial review may sometimes be legal but it is dangerous. Every president should save those powers for limited critical situations.”

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 speculation in Associated Press

Mike Bloomberg on Homeland Security : May 24, 2006
Use DNA and fingerprint technology for worker ID database

Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal US workers. Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens’ privacy and was not a civil liberties issue. “You don’t have to work--but if you want to work for a company you have to have a Social Security card,” he said. “The difference is, in the day and age when everybody’s got a PC on their desk with Photoshop that can replicate anything, it’s become a joke.“

The mayor said DNA and fingerprint technology could be used to create a worker ID database that will ”uniquely identify the person“ applying for a job, ensuring that cards are not illegally transferred or forged. The New York Civil Liberties Union said a DNA or fingerprint database ”doesn’t sound like the free society we think we’re living in.“

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Sara Kugler, Associated Press

Jesse Ventura on Abortion : Jul 2, 2000
Keep abortion legal on privacy grounds

It’s not so much that I think abortion should be legal as it is that I don’t think it can be made illegal without abusing the Constitution. Unless the government barged in at the precise moment the woman was there in the operating room with her feet in the stirrups, how would the government know she was getting an abortion? How could they even know she is pregnant without infringing upon her rights? Ultimately, I have to support keeping it legal. The government has to stay out of this one.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.150

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