Should people’s “privacy” be protected, even if it allows them to get away with breaking the law? Even if it allows them to get away with murder?

Should women be allowed to travel without their husbands being notified by the government?

Should businesses be allowed to pay two different employers different wages for doing the same work in the same way in the same amount of time?

Should anyone ever have “secrets” from anyone? And if so, why? Why is it so hard for human beings to simply live with the truth?

These are the questions that are going to be placed before humanity in the years just ahead as technology races ahead of individuals’ ability to control it, and governments seize more and more power to use it to enter people’s “private” lives.

A remarkable police case in Rhode Island in 2009 brings the case for transparency home in major ways, and in very clear ways. In that case, a woman had called emergency services at 911 to say that she had found her 6-year-old son was not moving that morning.

An ambulance crew arrived at the woman’s apartment, found the child unconscious in his bed, and raced him to the hospital. A police officer who also responded to the call stayed behind for a moment, talking with the mother’s boyfriend, who was in the apartment at the time, as the child was taken to the hospital with the mother.

The officer heard a cellphone beep in the kitchen, papers filed with a court said, and when he picked up the phone from the counter he saw a message: “Wat if I got 2 take him 2 da hospital wat do I say and dos marks on his neck omg.”

The message appeared to be from the child’s mother to her boyfriend, court documents said. The man was taken to the police station for questioning, and his cellphone was seized.

The boy died by nightfall, court records indicating that the cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the abdomen which perforated his small intestine,” according to press reports.

Police then obtained search warrants for the cellphones of both the man and the child’s mother, as well as their relatives. In addition, they obtained records from the cellphone companies that provided carrier services to the phones in question, with records of phone calls and voice mail messages.

But a judge in the case ruled almost three years later that police had no right to look at the phone without a search warrant. The phone, she said in her ruling, was not in plain view, nor did the owner of the phone give consent to have it searched. The boyfriend should be able to have a reasonable expectation that text messages to and from the child’s mother would not be seen or seized, the court ruled, and then threw out all the evidence that police had gathered with their warrants. The judge also suppressed evidence regarding the original text message that had drawn the police officer’s attention to begin with.

That case is now on appeal to the Rhode Island supreme court, with the defendant remaining in custody during the appeal process.

Meanwhile, in a far less serious, but nonetheless groundbreaking incident last week, a Saudi Arabian couple was traveling outside their country when the husband received a text message on his cellphone alerting him that his wife had left the country. Both the husband and the wife were surprised — and outraged — that the government had informed the husband of his wife’s travels without her permission or his request.

They found out that in Saudi Arabia, when a woman presents her passport to border control agents, her “guardian” is immediately notified — whether he requested to be told or not.

Every female in Saudi Arabia has a male “guardian,” or mahram. Traditionally this is a father, husband, or brother. The mahram can register with the country’s Interior Ministry to be notified if the woman over whom he has guardianship has traveled outside the nation’s borders. But apparently, as of last week, mahrams are now being automatically notified whether they registered and requested to be or not.

This may not seem strange in a country where women are not given the right to drive (the only country in the world where this is true). They are also not allowed to go to school or hold a job without permission from their “guardian.”

But the question of a mahram being notified by text message of the travels of the woman of whom he is the “guardian” raises larger issues within the context of the new world within which we now live — and are going to increasingly be encountering. The question is: What, if anything, is “wrong” with Total Transparency as a lifestyle? And, of course, the same kind of transparency would have to apply to men as well as women. Wives would then be notified of the whereabouts of their husbands at all times.

Conversations with God says that in highly evolved societies there would be no secrets of any kind, and that all things would be known by everyone. Moreover, says CWG, highly evolved beings would have no need or desire for secrets or privacy of any kind.

Total transparency in personal relationships, in governance, in business and industry, in commerce, and in all areas of life would be the standard practice.

Prices and costs for goods and services, for instance, would be transparent, with businesses voluntarily placing two figures on their price tags: “Our Cost/Your Price.”

Companies, likewise, would voluntarily pass around information sheets each month to all employees, listing the income and benefit packages of all workers, so that everyone would know to the penny what everyone else is getting for the services they are providing.

What do you think? Assuming the standard of complete visibility was applied equally to all companies, agencies of government, and individuals (which, many would argue, will never happen…but, assuming that it did)…would you be willing to live in a society of Total Transparency?

What “secrets” and “privacy” do you think people, companies, or governments should have a right to maintain…and why? What reason would anyone have to keep something a secret from anyone else? If all things were known by everyone, wouldn’t the world be a better place? Does WikiLeaks make you angry, or happy, that government maneuverings are becoming more and more revealed?

Your comments…?

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