Vanishing Privacy

If you are not doing anything wrong you don't need a bathroom door.  That was the conclusion of a Florida County in the 80's.  At the time cocaine use was out of control and law enforcement was determined to eliminate the crisis that was destroying the lives of Florida citizens even at the expense of privacy.

This action came in response to a possession case thrown out by a Judge based on the 4th Amendment.  A Deputy Sheriff had followed a suspicious looking male into the bathroom of a County Park. The male entered a stall and closed and locked the door. The Deputy peered through the crack between the door and the frame and observed the male with a white powdery substance.  The Court ruled that if a citizen has a right to privacy anywhere, that right certainly extends to the inner sanctum of a bathroom.  

In defiance the County decided that the risk of drug use and anonymous sex in its parks was so rampant that the solution was to remove the doors of the stalls in all men's bathrooms. The possibility of females using drugs in the stalls was not discussed or if it was, it was determined that females had a greater need for privacy in the powder room.  The County government did not conceive that such action would impose on the privacy rights of innocent citizens answering nature's call.

In the wider debate we all do legal things that we would just as soon keep to ourselves both in and out of the bathroom: i.e.  How much we make at our jobs or spend on frivolous impulse items; the problems we've had with our rebellious children or the disagreements we've had with our spouses; the rashes, itches or other embarrassing ailments we suffer.

But we can no longer say as did William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham in 1763

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter." 

Those who have done nothing wrong still need a bathroom door but today it's not enough.  The king can still enter through our iphones, our xbox, our TV and our Wifi, and worse yet, we won't even know that he's there.  


If you are not doing anything wrong you don't need a bathroom door.  That was the conclusion of a Florida County in the 80's.  At the time cocaine use was out of control and law enforcement was determined to eliminate the crisis that was destroying the lives of Florida citizens even at the expense of privacy.

This action came in response to a possession case thrown out by a Judge based on the 4th Amendment.  A Deputy Sheriff had followed a suspicious looking male into the bathroom of a County Park. The male entered a stall and closed and locked the door. The Deputy peered through the crack between the door and the frame and observed the male with a white powdery substance.  The Court ruled that if a citizen has a right to privacy anywhere, that right certainly extends to the inner sanctum of a bathroom.  

In defiance the County decided that the risk of drug use and anonymous sex in its parks was so rampant that the solution was to remove the doors of the stalls in all men's bathrooms. The possibility of females using drugs in the stalls was not discussed or if it was, it was determined that females had a greater need for privacy in the powder room.  The County government did not conceive that such action would impose on the privacy rights of innocent citizens answering nature's call.

In the wider debate we all do legal things that we would just as soon keep to ourselves both in and out of the bathroom: i.e.  How much we make at our jobs or spend on frivolous impulse items; the problems we've had with our rebellious children or the disagreements we've had with our spouses; the rashes, itches or other embarrassing ailments we suffer.

But we can no longer say as did William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham in 1763

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter." 

Those who have done nothing wrong still need a bathroom door but today it's not enough.  The king can still enter through our iphones, our xbox, our TV and our Wifi, and worse yet, we won't even know that he's there.  


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