Corporate Privacy?Posted: November 3, 2006
Wired is running an article that, to my mind, highlights a lot of the backwards thinking in government today. The lede says it all:
The government wants to respect the privacy of corporations who sell dangerous vehicles and keep data about defects under wraps.
One of my big pet peeves is how corporations have usurped a lot of the language of Libertarianism to apply to them, often at the expense of individuals who truly deserve those rights. In this case, the government (specifically The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) seems to subscribe to the notion that a corporation has a right to privacy, even when it comes to information that can endanger human life. Says who? I agree that, in order to keep a healthy economy running (and to stay globally competitive), we need to give corporations a certain amount of freedom to operate. But we need to remember that corporations are there to serve society, not the other way around. If they break this contract, the government should have the right to take action. Individuals often need to be protected from society (in the form of government) – that is why we have the Bill of Rights (and other quaint conventions). But a corporation can’t be persecuted, tortured, or imprisoned, let alone unjustly, and as long as the money keeps coming in, it can’t “die”, unless its charter is revoked. The worst thing that can happen if unjust action is taken against a corporation is that a lot of people lose their jobs.
The point is that the government needs to go back to being human-centric, as opposed to corporate-centric. Corporations are, for better or for worse, an important part of everyone’s lives, but they have their place. It’s time to remind our government that that place is not above that of living, breathing human beings.