Bitcoin, Privacy, and Second Amendment Rights

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

-Benjamin Franklin

 

Donít break the law and you wonít have to worry about this.

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In the US, for some reason, there is huge concern over the right to own firearms. Despite heinous crimes committed time and again, reasonable measures to perform prevent criminals or the mentally disturbed from buying them are routinely opposed.

Now, mind you, though I do not own a gun, I support the second amendment (as I do all the amendments) and believe that the widest rational latitude should be given for gun ownership.

As fights over basic freedoms, go though, guns are barely on my radar. If things get bad enough that the government is coming for my (non-existent) gun, then Iíve already lost all semblance of freedom. If it comes down to me facing off against the American military, it doesnít really matter what kind of assault rifle I have. Iím toast.

No, the fight over basic rights doesnít start with guns, it starts with privacy, private property, and severe limits on the government’s ability to interfere with those things. But for some reason, people are free willing to let these things go by the wayside.

What sparked this article today is a report out of the Pew Research Center claims that 48% of Americans arenít worried about the police being able to rifle through a personís phone during a criminal investigation. 44% oppose.

Of course, I hear you say, during a criminal investigation. True. And Iím sympathetic to that argument. But we also live in a country where the police will stop a person driving through town, ask them how much money they have, and if itís more than what the cop feels is reasonable for a person to have on them, they can confiscate if as being suspicious. The police can confiscate money, cars, houses – anything of value – just on suspicion – and without the owner of that property ever being charged. It is then up to the individual to go through a long, laborious, and rigged process to get their property back. And if they donít or they fail in the attempt, the police department gets part or all of the property. Learn more here.

Whatís more, looking through a personís phone today is nothing like looking through a person’s pockets or car. If the police stop me on the street and ask to search my pockets because of reasonable suspicion, Iím going to acquiesce and be sure in the knowledge that I have nothing to hide. But, looking through my phone will open up my whole world to a police officer. I may be legally totally blameless, but I also donít live in a glass house precisely because I donít want people seeing my every action – blameless as they might be. There are many things that people do that are perfectly legal, but that would be mortified if their friends, family, or neighbors knew about.

Which brings up the next question: what exactly is the law that the cops are enforcing? Through history, there have been many discriminatory,abusive, and oppressive laws. Not all of those laws have gone away, and there are many people still would like to write more of them. A member of an out-of-favor religious or civil group? Like a little bondage in your private time? Gay? All of these things have been illegal and all would be revealed on a random search of a phone for, say, a traffic stop.

For myself, Iím a Bitcoin user. One of the reasons that I like Bitcoin is that as we move increasingly to a digital economy, it looked like the banks and the governments were going to be able to fully monitor and control every penny I thought I (but they really would) own.

Bitcoin is not fully anonymous, but there are steps you can take to maintain privacy. Most importantly, though, is you can send value anywhere in the world in seconds (OK, minutes if the blocks are full). And no one can take those funds if I donít let them have the private keys to my wallets.

Please support privacy. Because, if we donít have that, the guns arenít going to help anyway.