1993-11-08 - Private and Public

Header Data

From: Arthur Chandler <arthurc@crl.com>
To: “Patrick E. Hykkonen” <pat@tstc.edu>
Message Hash: 64cb7e13ecd9324197e9325849934bf41159dca2fbdc5e5f60b3e253657d7976
Message ID: <Pine.3.87.9311080920.A8020-0100000@crl.crl.com>
Reply To: <9311081550.AA00789@tstc.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-11-08 17:48:23 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 09:48:23 PST

Raw message

From: Arthur Chandler <arthurc@crl.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 09:48:23 PST
To: "Patrick E. Hykkonen" <pat@tstc.edu>
Subject: Private and Public
In-Reply-To: <9311081550.AA00789@tstc.edu>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.87.9311080920.A8020-0100000@crl.crl.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

  I'm sure that few folks want to unsheathe the pro- and con- spoofing 
arguments again. But Patrick's last post got me thinking:
  Does the government have the right to know how much money I make, and 
from what sources? The IRS says yes, absolutely. But Eric Hughes, in a 
talk given at San Francisco State University, said, in response to a 
question from an audience, that international digital banking will make 
it very difficult for a national government to track monetary exchanges, 
and thereby tax them. Furthermore, I deduced from the gleam in his eye 
that Eric thought that this was a Good Thing (correct me if I 
misconstrued you, Eric). 
  Right now, there seems to be a kind of social contract between us and 
the government: it protects us, provides free schools, etc etc, in 
exchange for which we have to pony up a fair share of our earnings. It 
follows, doesn't it, that the government has a right to enforce its laws 
saying that everyone must pay that fair share of taxes? To enforce that 
rule, it has a right, under certain conditions, to rummage around in our 
records to see if we have hidden any income source from them.
  This may or may not be Big Brother. But it does seem to be the modus 
operandi of every government that ever was.
  The point: concerns of privacy often come in conflict with the larger 
obligations of public good. We can't say categorically that one must 
always predominate. 
  What do you think?