House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers suggested during a hearing at the US National Security Agency (NSA) on Tuesday that it’s impossible to have your privacy violated if you don’t know that your privacy is being violated.
The Republican Congressman was interrogating American University College of Law professor Stephen Vladeck over his concerns about NSA surveillance programs.
Rogers put his argument this way:
Maybe the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated clearly indicates - in 10 years - clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.
Vladeck replied with this question:
But who would be complaining?
Which is when Rogers laid out his “if I peek into the windows at the sorority house and they don’t find out, the police can’t arrest me, right?” rationale. (Hat tip to Mediaite.com commenter Tenth Justice.)
Somebody whose privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated, right?
So does the logic here apply elsewhere then? What about, say, hijacking webcams?
If your victim isn’t aware that they’ve been leered at and photographed/videotaped while undressing, and you haven’t gotten around to sextorting them yet, no crime was committed, right?
Furthermore, I would ask, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, a) has it made a sound, and b) does the NSA have their people on it to pick up on advances in coniferous intelligence operations?
Video courtesy of Breaking News 24×7.