privacy law


The law is an ass, but must it bray so loudly?

Behold the compound stupidity that emerges from ill-made privacy law. There was a terrible murder near the entrance of Edmonton’s Hotel Macdonald early Monday; the Edmonton Journal conducted a careful, sensitive investigation into the background of the victim, who had committed a murder himself in 2001. Because the Journal disclosed that the dead man had once been in foster care and that he had been a young offender, the broadsheet couldn’t report his name for fear of inviting reprisals from multiple levels of government. Meanwhile, every other news organ in town was left free to identify him precisely because they didn’t have, or didn’t tell, the full story. The law, in its infinite wisdom, endowed this lucky brute with privacy rights that did not expire with this death. But for whatever it might be worth, those rights did absolutely nothing to shield his identity from anybody.