Libertarians Raise Constitutional Right to Privacy Bill

The Libertarian Party is introducing a constitutional amendment to establish the right of privacy in the Oregon constitution. This measure has been an important project of the Libertarian leadership for many years. The bill allows government intervention only if it is in the “compelling state interest”. The idea behind the bill is to try and put up some defense against growing government surveillance and data mining of citizen personal information.

The measure has sounded the alarm with pro-family advocates who see this as a way to unintentionally codify the right to abortion and same sex marriage. The right to privacy has been a solid defense argument used by abortion rights and same-sex marriage advocates. Add in the role of terrorism-security-surveillance issues as it relates to privacy and you have a bill that has tripled in its hot button issues.

This begs the question”¦just what is privacy?

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Posted by at 06:30 | Posted in Measure 37 | 8 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steven Plunk

    This is one of the problems with the Libertarian party today. I am generally sympathetic to the party as I have strong libertarian views but they continue to miss the mark and in fact are aiming at the wrong mark.

    The biggest threat to individual liberties is not federal surveillence program or the fact that recreational drugs are illegal. Citizens are threatened every day by local governments who seek to control even the most minute details of day to day life. If we allow this sort of tyranny to continue the big stuff will come later.

    For example, in Medford we have had water meter readers searching properties for backflow devices on sprinkler systems, the parks department wants to regulate the cutting down of property owner’s trees by the owners themselves, photo radar vans violate state laws and city codes in order to catch speeders, and the list goes on. Where is the Oregon Libertarian party when these issues arise? They aren’t winning any of the local battles that’s for sure.

    Rather than work for a constitutional amendment why not work with what we have and make sure government is repsecting the already guaranteed liberties of citizens? Hell, the local governments don’t even understand that we have any liberties. Until the Libertarians show me the ability to win these small battles I can hardly support them in the big ones.

    • Clay Fouts

      I don’t understand why some people seem to think that private property rights don’t include the right to preserve one’s own body. If the government is not empowered to help its citizens protect themselves from having their drinking water poisoned by their neighbors or being run down by people who refuse to observe a safe driving speed, what good is it?

      • Steven Plunk

        Mr. Fouts,

        I will expand and explain in more detail so you understand the problem with those encroachments.

        Water Commission employees may in fact ahve a right to require backflow devices but they do not have a right to search a property without a warrant. That is a constitutional protection being ignored by a local jursidiction. Why be concerned with potential abuses by federal authorities when actual abuses are taking place right here? Not to mention the fact that there have been no documented cases of blackflow contamination in Oregon according to officials I questioned. So no problems exist but they thought enough to search homes without permission or warrant (by the way, it wasn’t my home).

        The problem with photo radar van enforcement here is the fact that they are breaking the law to trap speeders. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right. The Medford van is owned and operated privately but parks on sidewalks and bike paths in violation of state law. The police department has been made aware of the violation but chooses to allow it none the less. Using the ‘ends justify the means’ argument doesn’t justify knowingly breaking the law.

        So the point being made is one of our constitutional protections being violated already so why not fix that before pushing new protections through an amendment? Libertarians should answer those questions if they want support.

        • Captain_Anon

          I don’t see how photo radar is against the law – nor how it violates the right to privacy. people just hate it because suddenly the police CAN be in two places at once and catch people violating the law. I saw expand photo radar and redlight photography. it not only helps stamp out speeders, but provides additional revenue for police departments on the backs of violators rather than tax payers. sounds good to me!

          And for the record, i did get caught on photo radar in 2004. so i know how it feels and know how it has made me think twice about stepping on the gas.

          • Steven Plunk


            For the record I have not been ticketed by photo radar or ticketed at all in more than twenty years. The issue is not the legality of photo radar it is the Medford radar van, which is privately owned and operated but operates under the supervision of the police department, illegally parking on sidewalks and bike paths in order to catch speeders. The police department knows about it but chooses to ignore the law in order to enforce another law. That is issue Libertarians should be looking at, government picking and choosing what laws matter and violating laws themselves.

            I made no mention of right to privacy violations but would instead classify this as an abuse of power which violates all of our rights.

            Keep in mind the overall gist of my post is to point out the local problem that need to be addressed by the Livertarian Party before they go off on a wider crusade against possible abuses that may come from “data mining” and similar activities. Priorities are what I’m asking for if they want my support.

  • Caper

    The Libertarians have lacthed on to something good, but it is too broad. Might sink the whole ship.

  • Anonymous

    right to privacy = Roe v. Wade

  • WTG Libertarians!

    There aren’t any links in this story? Where can one go to find out more about what they’re doing here?

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