Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Electronic Voyeurism

Jason Young has a great, thoughtful post at Blog*on*nymity:

Like other nations, Canada has moved to adopt criminal sanctions for electronic voyeurism, a social problem that has become acute with the availability of cheap and inobtrusive surveillance technologies. The legislative efforts are welcome and yet I cannot help but wonder if we are missing the forest for the trees.

Privacy is a mutable value and can mean many different things. It can represent distinct legal interests as well as broader social ones. Our respect and disdain for privacy – our own and that of others – alters the nature of our relationships to one another and also the very fabric of the community. Legal sanctions for voyeurism seek to mitigate the personal harms and protect individual interests, and to some degree they will do so, but they are ill-suited to address the social harms or protect the social value of privacy.